Ukraine says Russian forces patrol Crimea airports

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Unidentified gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms guard the entrance to the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, 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/Ivan Sekretarev)

Unidentified gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms guard the entrance to the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, 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/Ivan Sekretarev)

Unidentified gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms block the road toward the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Heightened security is evident with Russian military around Sevastopol, the location for Russia military bases, military airport and Naval Base, while unidentified armed men wearing uniforms without insignia were patrolling another airport serving the regional capital, Ukraine’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Friday. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Unidentified armed man patrols a square in front of the airport in Simferopol, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patroled the airport in the capital of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region on Friday as tensions in the country’s Russian-speaking southeast escalated. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

An unidentified armed man patrols a square in front of the airport in Simferopol, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Russian military were blocking the airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea near the Russian naval base while unidentified men were patrolling another airport serving the regional capital, Ukraine’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Friday. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

People walk pass a barricade in a strew heading to Kiev’s Independence Square, the epicenter of the country’s current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Russian military were blocking the airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea near the Russian naval base while unidentified men were patrolling another airport serving the regional capital, Ukraine’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Friday. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — 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.

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said about 30 Russian paratroopers from the 810th brigade of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the Sevastopol area. It said the paratroopers said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry had no comment.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine’s conflict, which saw the pro-Russian president flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

“I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation,” Ukraine’s new interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Avakov said the airports were controlled by Russian navy troops. Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the road block. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite the armed men.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia’s state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to “maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine.”

Putin also asked the government to “hold consultations with foreign partners including the (International Monetary Fund) and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine.”

At the airport in Simferopol, dozens of

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