Ukraine Troops Allowed to Fire in Defense After Officer Killed

Image: Crisis in Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers walk during a military drill at the military shooting range called Goncharivka, 120 km north-east from Kiev, Ukraine, March 14, 2014. SERGEY DOLZHENKO / EPA

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Ukraine defense officials Tuesday issued an order allowing Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea to use weapons to defend their lives after one of them was killed when a base came under attack.

Armed Russian soldiers stormed the Ukrainian military installation near Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, earlier Tuesday. The victim is the first such death since pro-Russia forces took control of the peninsula in February.

"The attackers were dressed in military uniforms of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation without insignia and armed with automatic weapons and sniper rifles," the statement posted on the defense ministry Facebook page read.

The statement added that Ukraine would also allow its military units stationed in Crimea to use weapons "to protect and preserve the life of Ukrainian soldiers."

The attack on the base in Simferopol happened shortly after Moscow signed a treaty on Crimea joining Russia.

— Ed Flanagan and Becky Bratu