Crisis in Crimea sharply divides small town

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Local residents gather outside the Ukrainian naval base headquarters in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Local residents gather outside the Ukrainian naval base headquarters in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

A Russian soldier talks to local residents as he and comrades block the Ukrainian naval base in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday, March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Local residents, some of them pro-Russian supporters, gather outside the Ukrainian naval base headquarters in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Keys are hooked in a ring of a Ukrainian soldier guarding the naval base headquarters in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Local residents, some of them pro-Russian supporters, gather outside the Ukrainian naval base headquarters in the town of Novo-Ozerne, some 90 km west of the Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday, March 3, 2014. For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards. There’s not much in town anymore. But the Russians want it. And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

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NOVO-OZERNE, Ukraine (AP) — For years, the little Crimean town was closed off from the rest of the world, a secretive community, at the edge of a key Soviet naval base, sealed by roadblocks and armed guards.

Today, to get to Novo-Ozerne, you just follow a pitted two-lane road far into the Crimean countryside, past collective farms abandoned decades ago and villages where it’s hard to see any life, even at midday.

There’s not much in town anymore, just the occasional ship that has sailed up the Black Sea inlet to this isolated spot, a handful of crumbling navy buildings, and an armory ringed by barbed wire.

But the Russians want it.

And the little forgotten town is now sharply divided, torn between those who welcomed the arrival here over the weekend of dozens of Russian soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms, and those who back the Ukrainians who are refusing to surrender their weapons.

“We know who they are and we see (what they are doing) as terrorism,” said Sergei Reshetnik, a local businessman furious over the Russians’ arrival. “We just want to live quietly.”

The standoff in Novo-Ozerne between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers is a scene playing out across Crimea, days after Moscow effectively seized political power across the strategic Black Sea peninsula, establishing a pro-Russian regional government backed up by hundreds — perhaps thousands — of soldiers. The seizure of power came after months of street demonstrations in the capital, Kiev, which forced out Ukraine’s president, the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. The new government has

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