Armed police burst into Crimean hotel on eve of referendum

SIMFEROPOL - Armed police burst into a hotel in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, on Saturday night on the eve of a referendum aimed at deciding whether the Ukrainian region leaves Ukraine and becomes part of Russia.


Witnesses saw around 30 men in balaclavas carrying automatic weapons inside the Hotel Moscow, a Soviet-era hotel popular with Western reporters covering Sunday's referendum.The witnesses said the men burst in brandishing weapons and made their way to the building's fourth floor.


Crimean Defence Minister Valery Kuznetsov told reporters that police were reacting to an alert which turned out to be false. (Reuters)