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Russia sent 'several hundred' troops into Ukraine: US official

Published on Mar 1, 2014 7:34 AM
Unidentified armed men stand guard at the airport in Simferopol, Crimea on Feb 28, 2014. 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. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Russia has sent "several hundred" troops into Ukraine's Crimea region, US defense officials said on Friday, after Kiev called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the peninsula.

The comments marked the first confirmation from President Barack Obama's administration that Russia had launched an incursion into Crimea.

"It looks like they've moved several hundred troops there (into Crimea)," a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The Russians had not given the US government advance notice of the action or explained its intentions since the operation was launched, officials said.

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