Ukraine Announces Plan to Evacuate Troops From Crimea

Hours after pro-Russian forces stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters and captured its commander, Ukrainian officials in Kiev announced that it would withdraw all military personnel from Crimea.

"We are developing a plan that would enable us not only to withdraw servicemen, but also members of their families in Crimea, so that they could be quickly and efficiently moved to mainland Ukraine," Ukrainian security chief Adriy Parubiy said, according to the BBC.

The roughly 25,000 troops and their families, who have been trapped for weeks in the region by pro-Russian forces, will be relocated in Ukraine.

The announcement comes just one day after President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty for Russia to annex Crimea and three days after a reported 97 percent of Crimean citizens voted to join the Russian Federation.

Earlier on Wednesday, armed pro-Russian militia members stormed the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea and raised the Russian flag. Later, Admiral Sergei Hayduk, the head of the Ukrainian navy, was taken from the building. His whereabouts remain unknown. Ukraine threatened an "adequate response...of a technical and technological nature" if Hayduk was not released by 3:00 pm local time, a deadline that has already passed.

[Image via AP]