Pro-Russian troops takeover Crimean borders, ferry

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Unidentified gunmen stand outside entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian soldiers seem to further cement their control over the strategic region, that also houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet, by seizing a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch about 20 kilometers (12 miles) by boat to Russia, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

Unidentified gunmen stand outside entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian soldiers seem to further cement their control over the strategic region, that also houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet, by seizing a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch about 20 kilometers (12 miles) by boat to Russia, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

A ship sails by the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

A Ukrainian armored personnel carrier is stationed behind the gate of a military base in the port of Kerch, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pro-Russian troops controlled a ferry terminal on the easternmost tip of Ukraine’s Crimea region close to Russia on Monday, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the strategic Black Sea region in its tense dispute with its Slavic neighbor. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s military admitted Monday that pro-Russian troops have surrounded or taken over “practically all” its military facilities in Crimea — a move that Russia’s foreign minister defended as a necessary protection for the ethnic Russians on the Black Sea peninsula.

“This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Geneva, where he was attending U.N. meetings.

There have been no reports, however, of any hostilities toward Russian-speaking in Ukraine during the country’s four months of political upheaval.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying that Moscow believes Ukraine must honor its Feb. 21 agreement to form a new national unity government.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s new prime minister admitted his country had “no military options on the table” to reverse Russia’s military move into its Crimea region.

While Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk appealed for outside help and insisted that Crimea still remained part of his country, European foreign ministers held an emergency meeting on a joint response to Russia’s military move that could include economic sanctions.

“Any attempt of Russia to grab Crimea will have no success at all. Give us some time,” Yatsenyuk said at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

But he added that “for today” there were “no military options on the table.” He said his country was “urgently” asking for economic and political support from other countries.

New reports of Russian moves came in rapid succession Monday. In addition to seizing barracks and border posts, troops also controlled a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) across the water from Russia. That intensified fears in Kiev that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula via that route.

The soldiers at the terminal refused to identify themselves Monday, but they spoke Russian and their vehicles had Russian license plates.

In the meantime, Russian forces were clearly cementing their control over strategic Crimea, home to 2 million mostly Russian-speaking people and landlord for Russia’s critical Black Sea Fleet.

Border guards spokesman Sergei Astakhov said the Russians were demanding that Ukrainians transfer their allegiance to Crimea’s new pro-Russian local government.

“The Russians are behaving very aggressively, they came in by breaking down doors, knocking out windows, cutting off every communication,” he said.

He said four Russian military ships, 13 helicopters and 8 transport planes had arrived in Crimea in violation of agreements that permit Russian to keep its naval base at the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Now, fears in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and beyond are that Russia might seek to expand its control by targeting and seizing other parts of Ukraine, especially in its pro-Russian east.

“The world cannot just allow this to happen,” Hague said, but he ruled out any military action. “The U.K is not discussing military options. Our concentration is on diplomatic and economic pressure.”

“Crisis diplomacy is not a weakness, but it is now more important than ever for us not to fall into the abyss of a military escalation, not to blunder into this abyss,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

Market reaction to the Russian invasion of Crimea was immediate Monday. In European trading, gold and oil rose while the euro and stock markets fell. The greatest impact was felt in Moscow, where the main RTS index was down 12 percent at 1,115 and the dollar spiked to

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