Armed men seized two airports in a pro-Russia area of Ukraine, stepping up the tensions in a country trying to rebound from a major change of power that included its president fleeing to Russia.
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The armed groups descended this morning on the two main airports in Crimea – including one in the capital Simferopol, which is still running as normal. The armed men quietly patrolled the airport, saying nothing to passengers.
Dozens of the armed men later piled onto a military truck without license plates and left.
No violence was reported.
Ukraine’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov classified the situation as a “military invasion and occupation” on his Facebook page.
One day earlier, masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag over the parliament building.
The events in the Crimea region have heightened tensions with neighboring Russia. Moscow scrambled fighter jets on Thursday to patrol borders in the first stirrings of a potentially dangerous confrontation reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.
Russia also has granted shelter to Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, state media reported, after recent deadly protests in Kiev swept in a new government.
Yanukovych has a news conference scheduled Friday in Russia's south near the Ukrainian border. He has not been seen publicly since Saturday, and he declared Thursday in a statement that he remains Ukraine's legitimate president.
ABC News' Dan Good and The Associated Press contributed to this report.