Warning shots fired at Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea: Officer

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Russian forces surrounding an air base in Belbek, near Sevastopol, fired warning shots at Ukrainian servicemen trying to approach on Tuesday, a Ukrainian officer inside told AFP.

Pro-Russian troops guarding the airfield fired the shots in the air as a column of about 300 unarmed Ukrainian troops approached the airfield around 9:00 am local time (0700 GMT), Oleksey Khramov, an officer at the base, said by telephone.

"They fired several shots into the air and said they would open fire if they continued to approach," he said.

The Ukrainian soldiers stopped and remained outside the air base, he said.

Russian forces have surrounded the airfield and the administrative base of the Sevastopol tactical aviation brigade in Belbek, with dozens of Ukrainian soldiers remaining inside.