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Report: Armed men occupy airport in Ukraine's Crimea; Russian moves threaten confrontation

Friday - 2/28/2014, 1:30am  ET

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) -- Events in Ukraine's strategic Crimea region continue to threaten Ukraine's unity.

The new government in Kiev has pledged to prevent the nation from breaking up. But early Friday, armed men in military uniforms reportedly occupied an airport in Crimea's capital. The Interfax news agency later reported the men left after finding no Ukrainian troops had landed.

Witnesses told Interfax that the 50 or so men were wearing the same gear as the men who seized government buildings and raised the Russian flag in the city (Simferopol) on Thursday.

The events in the Crimea region have heightened tensions with neighboring Russia, which has scrambled fighter jets to patrol its borders.

Russia also has granted shelter to Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich). He has a news conference scheduled Friday near the Ukrainian border.

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APPHOTO EM101: Anti-Yanukovych protester sit on top of an army armored vehicle drive past a barricade along a street in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Ukraine put its police on high alert after dozens of armed pro-Russia men stormed and seized local government buildings in Ukraine's Crimea region early Thursday and raised a Russian flag over a barricade. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) (27 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO EM127: Ukrainian lawmakers applaud new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, center, during a session at the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Ukrainian lawmakers chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new prime minister. He will face the hugely complicated task of restoring stability in a country that is not only deeply divided politically but on the verge of financial collapse. The 39-year-old served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010, and is widely viewed as a technocratic reformer who enjoys the support of the U.S. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov) (27 Feb 2014)

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