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Ukraine Accuses Russia of a Military Invasio of Crimea, Meanwhile Former Leader Yanukovy Makes a Formal Statement

“Ukraine’s interior minister on Friday accused Russian forces of staging an “armed invasion” in Crimea, claiming they had blocked one air base and entered another airport overnight on the Black Sea peninsula.

The incidents come a day after dozens of pro-Moscow gunmen seized government buildings in the Crimean capital of Simferopol including the regional parliament, which subsequently voted to hold a referendum on May 25 to expand the region’s autonomy from Kiev.

“I consider what is happening to be an armed invasion and an occupation,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.

Avakov said that troops from Russia’s Black Sea fleet — stationed in Russian-speaking Crimea — had blockaded the Belbek airfield near Sevastopol, where Ukrainian soldiers and border guards were stationed.

No armed clashes had occurred but the base was not operating as normal….”

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“Ousted Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych is speaking to the press from the southern Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don, where he is under Kremlin protection.

On Thursday Yanukovych asserted that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine. He is now calling for a reorganization of the government, new presidential elections, and a new constitution.

His statement sounds like he is trying to get back to the truce signed on February 19, which was subsequently rejected by protesters. After a day of bloodshed, Yanukovych fled and parliament stripped him of his position.

A new government was approved yesterday, but neither Yanukovych nor Russia recognize it.

“I believe that the Ukrainian parliament is not legitimate,” he said. ….”

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