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Ukraine Says it Controls Crimean Airports

There have been conflicting reports today from Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, about whether two airports there are under Russian or Ukrainian control.

 Soldiers, who were wearing no identifying insignia and declined to say whether they were Russian or Ukrainian, patrol outside the Simferopol International Airport
Soldiers, who were wearing no identifying insignia and declined to say whether they were Russian or Ukrainian, patrol outside the Simferopol International Airport (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s interior minister said earlier today that Russian navy troops were blocking access to the airports. He described it as a “military invasion and occupation.”

But Ukraine’s Security Council chief was later quoted by the Interfax news agency as insisting that the airports were still under Ukrainian control — even though gunmen had tried to “seize” them and had set up checkpoints outside.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service says about 30 Russian paratroopers have taken up positions outside a Ukrainian Coast Guard base in Crimea. It quotes the paratroopers as saying they were there to keep any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where Russia has a major naval base. Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps that it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty. The parliament called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

Ukraine’s fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, has now been seen publicly for the first time since he fled Ukraine for Russia. He told reports in southern Russia today that he will fight for Ukraine’s future, but he won’t ask for military assistance.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

 

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