Ukraine claims Russian forces seized airport in Crimea, Russians deny report
By End the Lie
The new Ukrainian leadership has said that two airports in the Crimea region were seized by armed forces, one of which was allegedly seized by Russian forces.
Moscow, however, has denied seizing the Sevastopol airport. The Simferopol airport, also in the Crimean region, has reportedly been occupied by armed men, thought to be “pro-Russia militia,” according to the BBC.
The border guard service in Kiev said that “more than 10 Russian military helicopters had flown over the peninsula and Russian servicemen had blockaded one of its units in the port city of Sevastopol,” according to Reuters.
Reuters reports that a serviceman at the scene confirmed that he was from the Russian Black Sea Fleet. He reportedly said that they were there to stop the kind of protests that led to the ousting of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
However, the fleet denied the claims that their forces were involved in the seizing of the military airport near Sevastopol.
The BBC reports that they saw “eight trucks with the black plates of the Russian army moving towards Simferopol.”
However, one supporter described the armed group at the civilian airport in Simferopol as Crimean militiamen, according to Reuters.
Andriy Paruby, the top security official in Ukraine, said the Russian government was directing the armed men in Crimea.
“These are separate groups … commanded by the Kremlin,” said Paruby, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.
While Moscow said they will defend the interests of their citizens in Ukraine, they also said they will not intervene by force.
The Ukrainian government is reportedly considering the declaration of a state of emergency in the region.
Ukraine’s commercial airline said they were denied entry into Crimean airspace, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Yanukovich reappeared in public, saying that he never asked Russian forces to intervene in his country, according to the National Post.
He said he “categorically opposed any military actions” and accused Western nations of collaborating with “terrorists” to overthrow his government.
Yanukovych said he “intends to keep on fighting for Ukraine’s future” against the new Ukrainian leaders. He described the new leaders as “pro-fascist thugs.”
An emergency session has been called by the U.N. Security Council at the request of the new Ukrainian leadership, who said the nation’s territorial integrity is under threat.
In 1994 Russia, the U.S., UK and France all pledged to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.
However, the Crimean parliament announced on Thursday that they would hold a referendum on May 25 that could expand the region’s autonomy from Ukraine.
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