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Armed men seize two airports in Ukraine's Crimea as situation escalates

Published on Mar 1, 2014 5:25 AM

SIMFEROPOL (REUTERS) - Armed men took control of two airports in the Crimea region on Friday in what the new Ukrainian leadership described as an invasion by Moscow's forces, and ousted President Viktor Yanukovych surfaced in Russia after a week on the run.

Mr Yanukovych said Russia should use all means at its disposal to stop the chaos in Ukraine as tension rose on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, the only region with an ethnic Russian majority and the last major bastion of resistance to the overthrow of the Moscow-backed leader.

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov accused Russia of open aggression and said Moscow was following a scenario simliar to the one before it went to war with fellow former Soviet republic Georgia in 2008.

A day after gunmen seized the Ukrainian parliament and raised the Russian flag, a representative of Turchinov in Crimea said 13 Russian aircraft had landed on the Black Sea peninsula with 150 personnel on board each one. More than 10 Russian military helicopters flew over Crimea and Russian servicemen blockaded a unit of the Ukrainian border guard in the port city of Sevastopol, the guard said.

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