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Surrounded Ukrainian service members wed

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Ukrainian air force medic Galina Volosyanchik, left, and communication officer Ivan Benera said “I do” March 22 at Belbek air base in Crimea just before Rus­sian troops took over the base.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Airmen danced at their comrades’ wedding.
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BELBEK AIR BASE, CRIMEA » As pro-Rus­sian forces surrounded a Ukrainian-held air force base in Crimea on March 22, two Ukrainian lieutenants stood side by side and tied the knot.

The couple completed their wedding vows under the gaze of Belbek base commander Col. Yuliy Mamchur, who has been hailed in Ukraine for his refusal to yield to numerically superior pro-Rus­sian forces.

As medic Galina Volos­yan­chik and communications officer Ivan Benera were handed a gift and bouquet of flowers, Mamchur said, "You will always remember this. The whole world is here watching."

Hours later, armed pro-Rus­sian forces smashed into and took control of the base, which had been the last major military facility to remain under Ukrainian control on the peninsula.

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