Ukraine says it controls Crimean airports

Ukraine says it controls Crimean airports

Ukraine says it controls Crimean airports

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Associated Press

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 11:24 AM

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — There have been conflicting reports today from Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, about whether two airports there are under Russian or Ukrainian control.

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 (yah-noo-KOH'-vich), 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.

%@AP Links

145-c-16-(Nataliya Vasilyeva (na-TAHL'-ee-uh vas-SEEL'-ee-uh-vah), AP correspondent)-"and territorial integrity"-AP correspondent Natiliya Vasilyeva reports Ukraine's new leadership wants the United Nations to get involved. (28 Feb 2014)

<<CUT *145 (02/28/14)££ 00:16 "and territorial integrity"

155-a-16-(James Sherr (shur), associate fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs, in AP interview)-"the entire country"-James Sherr, of London's Royal Institute of International Affairs, says Russia is playing a dangerous game by working to influence Ukraine's future. (28 Feb 2014)

<<CUT *155 (02/28/14)££ 00:16 "the entire country"

GRAPHICSBANK: Viktor Yanukovych, as fugitive president of Ukraine, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, graphic element on gray (28 Feb 2014)

APPHOTO XDMV108: Unidentified armed men patrol in front of the airport in Simferopol, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Russian troops took control of the two main airports in the strategic peninsula of Crimea, Ukraine's interior minister charged Friday, as the country asked the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the escalating conflict. Russian state media said Russian forces in Crimea denied involvement. No violence was reported at the civilian airport in Crimea's capital of Simferopol or at the military airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, also part of Crimea. At the Simferopol airport, a man claiming to speak for the camouflage-clad forces patrolling the airport described them as Crimean militiamen. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (28 Feb 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDMV108 (02/28/14)££

APPHOTO MOSB108: Ukraine's fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych gives a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Moscow, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Yanukovych has pledged to fight on for the country's future. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) (28 Feb 2014)

<<APPHOTO MOSB108 (02/28/14)££

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