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Published: Monday March 10, 2014 MYT 8:00:02 PM
Updated: Monday March 10, 2014 MYT 8:01:07 PM

Russian forces consolidate grip on Ukraine's Crimea

KIEV (Reuters) - Russian forces consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Monday, taking over a military hospital and a missile base as officials geared up for a referendum on the region's future.

Interfax Ukraine news agency said pro-Russian militias and Russian troops had seized the hospital in Simferopol, the peninsula's main administrative city, and herded staff into a hall to "apparently meet the institutions' s new directors." It said 20 patients in the building were seriously ill.

In the port of Sevastopol, Russian soldiers disarmed servicemen at a Ukrainian army missile base, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea said.

Vladislav Seleznyov told Fifth Channel television that about 200 soldiers aboard 14 trucks moved on the building at about 1.30 a.m(1130 GMT) and threatened to storm it if the Ukrainian soldiers failed to give up their weapons.

(Reporting By Ron Popeski, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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