07:00 The approval for the citizen's meeting in Naxhimova Square in City Center of Sevastopol had not been given by Militsiya. Without permission legally the public meeting could not take place. Militsiya did not deny permission, legally they could not, but they were delaying, demanding 'corrected documents', wanting more documents for the security arrangements for the meeting and trying to negotiate the payment for the security, which was Militsiya. These delaying tactics continued up to the moment the meeting was scheduled to start and documents granting permission were received as the speakers for the meeting were ascending the steps to the platform.
It is estimated that over 30,000 citizens attended that meeting. We did not. We did watch it live on CC TV not to far from the event. The square is awash with Krimea, Sevastopol, St. George, and for the first time in public Russia flags, the flag of Russia outnumbering all others combined.
The Kiev appointed city administrator, V. Yatsuba, was one of the first if not the first to speak. He spoke of cooperation between the citizens and the new government in Kiev and voiced the opinion that he was supportive of Sevastopol citizenry and would do his best to voice the concerns of the citizenry to the new government in Kiev.
Shortly after he spoke, A. Chalyi spoke. The meeting erupts with cheers for Mr. Chalyi and he is elected on the spot as the 'people's mayor of Sevastopol'. V. Yatsuba voices his support for the 'election'.
Off to the side of the stage, tables are set up and registrations are commenced for membership of Opolchensya, the people's defense organization. The tables are flooded with volunteers. I/we to this day do not know who gave the order for Opolchensya to be activated. We never asked.
I was told after the meeting that Kiev had already called and expressed dissatisfaction with the actions of the citizenry and their appointed head of Administration. V. Yatsuba was a Party of Regions member and appointed by Mr. Yanukovich.
24 February 2014
09:00 Kiev, Channel 5 News, live interview. D. Yarush, the leader of Right Sector, and O. Tyagnibok, a sitting deputat in Ukraine Rada and leader of Svoboda Party, were being interviewed. Mr. Yarush declared, heard live by my wife and I, 'I will bring my 2500 fighters down to Sevastopol and kill every Russian there and burn the city to the ground'. Mr. Tyagnibok stated 'I will bring my 3000 fighters to Krimu and put every Russian there to the knife.'. Both were upset about the meeting of 23 February in Sevastopol. (Please to not ask me for a link to this interview. I do not know if one exists and I/we never bothered to look for one. We heard it live. That was enough.)
The entire city and peninsula either heard the interview live or knew of it within an hour. The statements at this live interview were taken seriously.
A meeting and demonstration by Krim Tatari was planned in front of Krimea Rada Complex in Simferopol for that afternoon. The demonstration took place. The demonstration turned violent early. From the overhead camera one could clearly see Right Sector 10's being controlled by their commanders as an attempt was made to break in to the Rada Building. Right Sector operatives had arrived shortly after the demonstration started, equipped with plastic drink bottles filled with wet sand, iron rebar cut to length for clubs, at least one pistol and a few had on arm and leg armor.
A few local citizens had gathered at Rada Complex to prevent entry and were mixed in with local Militsiya. As the demonstration escalated in violence the crowd of Tatari and Right Sector operatives began to push the, for lack of a better term, defenders back to the main entrance doors. A call had been made for citizens to come to Rada and defend the complex. This call was answered and reinforcements began to arrive within 15 minutes, albeit not in large numbers.
The demonstrators managed to push the defenders back in to the entrance hall along with Militsiya. At the same time two 10's of Right Sector operatives went to a rear entrance of Rada Building and managed to break down the door. Militsiya guarding that door had simply stepped aside and allowed the operatives to break the door. On entry the two 10's of operatives were met by a just arrived group of local sportsmen who administered corporal chastisement to the Right Sector operatives, invited them to leave the small anteroom and barricaded the door opening with furniture. The sportsmen then held that position for the duration of the demonstration.
At the front, the Right Sector operatives had managed to gain entrance to the entry hall but were prevented from going further by the citizens. The operatives broke every window they could reach, destroyed furniture etc, and were then pushed back out the entrance doors. As they were pushed out the two 10's from the failed rear assault appeared and, after consultations with the commander, clearly seen on the overhead camera, they began to leave. By this time most of the Tatari had also left. In talking to some who were at the demonstration, they were appalled that their peaceful demonstration had turned to violence. The Right Sector commander and others were clearly heard stating they would be back to 'burn the building to the ground'.
Reliable sources have told me that 5 citizens, all defenders, died in the violence, one elderly man having a heart attack as he was assaulted, one middle aged man beaten to death, one middle aged woman found dead as the crowds receded, and two men stabbed to death. The two stabbing victims were removed by Right Sector operatives as they retreated and their bodies found in a local park a kilometer from Rada Complex the next morning. Twenty of the defenders needed hospital level treatment.
The Black Sea Fleet went on alert as did all Russian Federation Armed Forces stationed in Krimea and Sevastopol. Leaves were canceled and all service members were told to report for duty.
Ukraine armed forces also went on alert.
In Sevastopol, the City Rada acknowledge the wishes of the people and appoint A. Chalyi as administrative head of Sevastopol. V. Yatsuba cooperates with Mr. Chalyi and they set up a committee to administer the city.
O. Torchinov in Kiev sent every more strident demands to Sevastopol Rada and Mr. Yatsuba to return to the previous administration. This demands were ignored.