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We had spent the night next to the Ukrainian garrison at Belbek airbase, where approximately 300-400 Ukrainian troops ignored two deadlines to surrender by Russian-led troops and the Ukrainians and their families, who live in apartment buildings nearby, spent a nervous night fearing the Russians might attack.
The next morning the Ukrainian commander, Yuli Mamchor, called his troops to assembly and gave a rousing speech, saying it was time for them to act. The Russians controlled the strategic airfield located on the hill above the garrison, and Mamchor ordered his troops to march with him to confront them, but with one important caveat: they would meet the Russians unarmed!
About 200 Ukrainians gathered in an orderly group at the entrance to the base, behind two soldiers bearing the Ukrainian blue and yellow flag and the original red, hammer-and-sickle flag of the unit that dates from its founding during World War II, and off they marched, singing songs up the hill and accompanied by about twenty journalists.