Gunfire, landmines and cyber attacks in Crimea
Escalation as Russia insists: ‘We did not start crisis’
The first gunfire of the Crimea crisis has taken place in the form of warning shots fired at a European observer mission. Russian forces have reportedly also laid landmines at the top of the Crimean peninsula.
A convoy from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was stopped by Russian troops on a main road into the Crimean peninsula. Men in balaclavas fired three bursts of automatic gunfire into the air as checkpoint commanders insisted the observers had no authority to enter the area.
The mission had been sent by the Vienna-based organisation to investigate allegations that Russian speakers in Crimea are being threatened by the new Western-backed administration in Kiev.
Meanwhile, a Russian newspaper has published photographs of landmines being laid near an entry point to the peninsula, near the villages of Chongar and Nikolaevka.
British computer experts believe that Ukraine is coming under cyber attack from Russia. Dozens of computer networks have been infected by a powerful new cyber weapon called Snake, which has been compared with Stuxnet, the malware that disrupted Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010.
The developments come as the US warns Russia that any moves to annex Crimea would close the door to diplomacy. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insists that Moscow is open to “honest, equal” dialogue over the crisis. However, he insists: “The crisis was not started by us.”