Ukraine Conflict Shifts to Crimea

The Crimean parliament has been seized by pro-Russian groups.
3:00 | 02/27/14

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Transcript for Ukraine Conflict Shifts to Crimea
This is a special room. -- run -- Devin Dwyer a New York this is an ABC news digital special report two days after protesters toppled the Russian backed government Ukraine. The conflict there appears to be worsening rather than ending the world's attention now shifting to Crimea. And autonomous region formally part of Ukraine but with strong connections to Moscow will Ukraine remain unified. Purdue the Russians have their own plans for the Black Sea peninsula ABC's -- Zach is here with all the latest -- Hi DeVon yes after truth -- that -- held and months of protest the situation in the Ukraine is now escalating. In the Crimea area of the Ukraine's. Russian flags now fly Ukrainian parliament has been seized by pro Russian groups. And it is the latest turn as the split loyalties in Ukraine have the nation hovering dangerously close to serious escalation in violence. One group signing with the European Union in the US and other side of -- Russia. These are Russian -- thank -- -- doorstep. 150000. Russian troops on high alert for an unplanned military drill. It is an unwelcome surprise for the -- Ukrainian prime minister this morning and today my first message. Know what's on the ground according to reports in the Russian media the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych has -- to Moscow. Insisting that he is still Ukraine -- rightful leader but after his response to protesters left more than 100 dead and 2000 injured. He faces possible prosecution international criminal. The situation in Ukraine is a tinderbox. US Russian relations half turned sour as secretary of state John Kerry said on MSNBC. We do not believe there should be an east west Russia United States this is not -- for. Believe me but the situation is beginning to look a lot like an epic showdown. -- clashing protesters further divide the country. And the United States continues to provide economic and political support to the government and the Ukraine. But in its response to Russia you'll notice it's being really cautious they're DeVon. The last -- the United States wants to do is punt itself -- -- Cold War. Now in a modern era live in New York on -- ABC news actually DeVon. Thanks so much Lana for more now on all the developments in Ukraine want to bring -- ABC's Alex Marquardt -- been reporting from. Since -- polling Crimea Alex thank you so much for joining -- reports this morning. On some fast moving developments there -- gunman apparently taken the crime nearing a Crimean -- parliament building what do we know about who these people are what their plans are. Yeah well there were dozens of them pro Russia gunman who storm the parliament early this morning. Are -- very quickly quick in the Russian flags that fly alongside the -- and flag on the route the -- we know they have no official capacity. We think they're still in the building but we don't know what their demands are if there are any because what -- really doing -- -- -- back. They'd be it gunmen along with very many others here in Crimea. Want the government of the autonomous region to remain firmly pro Russian. The that it didn't appear to be all that a directive prior -- lawmakers met in the building. They fired the government and called for a referendum on May 25. The very same -- that Ukraine are supposed to be holding presidential election. The referendum will be on whether Crimea should stay. -- Ukraine. And in support of the gunman -- -- inside the parliament hundreds of guardian rallied outside the parliament I think. Pro -- grant -- playing Soviet bone. -- that a state that -- by Crimean police. So this this region -- a Russian stronghold inside Ukraine -- that. I think before this week many Americans. May have been no unfamiliar with prime Mickey give us a sense of why this region has been so contested. And what Russia -- -- Well there are being governed at an economist Robin Ukraine it's really unique in Ukraine it's the only province they called -- -- black beard but it didn't really get swept up in the revolutionary unrest that we saw elsewhere in the country last. Weak but it -- few weeks and of course -- -- few months. The majority of the people -- in Crimea are ethnically and culturally Russian. They feel much closer to Russia and Ukraine and even want to be part of Russia Russian -- -- Now Moscow despite not ruling the Soviet Union anymore still long have been empire. It is Crimea as an extension of Russia the same language the same old same culture. And on top but that -- had the strategic and military interest here. Deductible a port city on the black beat the whole look Russian Black Sea -- around 25000 Russian troops are based here. Crimea is -- huge strategic and cultural importance to Moscow. Alex any chance that debt in light of all of this fighting and -- -- there that Crimea could break off from Ukraine. All right now it doesn't appeared to be -- way there are -- -- here as president in. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Many want to maintain their data. Not on that we -- -- simply want to feel like. There are more -- part of Ukraine so it doesn't look right now like -- the boundaries supporters may be shifting but. There are certainly some that -- -- but it -- certainly a lot of Saber rattling. -- coming from all -- And Alex -- as -- forbade reporting there's a third major player in this story after Russia and Ukraine. Or what you tell us about the ethnic -- -- community in Crimea who did they stand with and how much influence that they have right now. Requests in the Korean pop stars are a Muslim ethnic minority they make up -- -- percent of the population. The guardian what in their round the deeper than the -- around 45% but I thought -- are relatively small minority but -- wouldn't be very vocal that was done. -- -- -- I -- yesterday afternoon in Europe the parliament building once again. Thousands of -- -- turned out here and from Europe all. The support the change in the -- the government in Kiev. They were -- they were directed there were clear in their -- there's that they do support the revolution that we saw last week. The same time they do not have accused include a crime -- right here Crimea but they do help highlight that fact we've been -- -- the period a huge eight divide. In Ukraine. Where ukrainians were -- country got. -- all that unrest Alex before we let you go just to bring it back home what does that mean here for the United States for the Europeans. And given Russia's interest in the region is there any indication that. Or willingness really of these western powers to intervene if the Russians were to become more actively involved -- Well for it beyond -- Crimea could quickly expanded from local regional Ukrainian problem -- -- in 41. -- -- what we get involved do you remember that they've not they've not that military exercise involving tens of thousands. Orders along Ukraine border as well -- -- -- fighter that since you are combat ready eviction if they work to get involved and I think you'd get. It would really -- is that it is very urgent and important -- in. They -- did not seem to be any. Western European -- merit in. Desire to get -- militarily certainly not -- the American. -- Europe and you want that all of that quietly and diplomatically you heard that over that SoundBite from John Kerry well Butler the number -- the number two. From the State Department in yen yesterday they'd like -- albeit with no violence. But for right now that it -- not -- is extremely strong. And its -- -- the -- and. All right fantastic reporting ABC's Alex Marquardt in Crimea the south of Ukraine think so much for joining us follow the latest from Alex on Twitter at. Mark court -- and of course you can follow all the latest from the region. Here at This has been an ABC news digital special report. I'm Devin -- New York thanks for watching.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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