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Armed Men In Russian Uniforms Occupy Airports In Crimea

Dozens of armed men took over Simferopol and Sevastopol airports in the Ukrainian region of Crimea Friday morning.

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Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's new interior minister, said on Facebook, "I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation."

Armed men seize Crimean airports. Ukrainian interior minister says it's a Russian "armed invasion and occupation" https://t.co/G3ZZclsxfD

max seddon@maxseddon

Armed men seize Crimean airports. Ukrainian interior minister says it's a Russian "armed invasion and occupation" https://t.co/G3ZZclsxfD

02:43 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

If @AvakovArsen is correct, the Russian "invasion" violates the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial integrity

max seddon@maxseddon

If @AvakovArsen is correct, the Russian "invasion" violates the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial integrity

02:53 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Yanukovych, meanwhile, arrived for his presser in Rostov-na-Donu accompanied by several fighter jets http://t.co/u7moNbWQ1b

max seddon@maxseddon

Yanukovych, meanwhile, arrived for his presser in Rostov-na-Donu accompanied by several fighter jets http://t.co/u7moNbWQ1b

02:54 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Reportedly the estimated 50 men at the airport were wearing the same uniforms to those who stormed local government buildings in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag.

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here" RT @ChristopherJM The entrance to Sevastopol. via @euromaidan

max seddon@maxseddon

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here" RT @ChristopherJM The entrance to Sevastopol. via @euromaidan

02:59 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Inadvertently deleted previous. Here is original photo from @Reuters, alleging Russian troops at airport in Crimea

Threat Watch@ThreatWatch1

Inadvertently deleted previous. Here is original photo from @Reuters, alleging Russian troops at airport in Crimea

01:59 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

First close up high detail image now circulating of the group of well armed men that took the #Crimea airport #OSINT

Nathan J Hunt@ISNJH

First close up high detail image now circulating of the group of well armed men that took the #Crimea airport #OSINT

12:27 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Witnesses apparently told Interfax news agency the men with "Russian Navy ensigns" surrounded Simferopol Airport's domestic terminal.

AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

A volunteer helping the men named Vladimir has reportedly told Reuters that he said he did not know where the men came from, adding: "I'm with the People's Militia of Crimea. We're simple people, volunteers. We're here at the airport to maintain order. We'll meet the planes with a nice smile — the airport is working as normal."

A soldier at Crimea's Semferipol airport has confirmed to local Channel 1 TV that they are Russian. #Ukraine

James Mates@jamesmatesitv

A soldier at Crimea's Semferipol airport has confirmed to local Channel 1 TV that they are Russian. #Ukraine

02:34 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Apparently Russia's Black Sea Fleet has denied blocking Belbek Airport in Sevastopol.

Russia's Black Sea fleet denies blocking Belbek airport (but apparently not Simferopol?) http://t.co/zlYFqlKoeh

max seddon@maxseddon

Russia's Black Sea fleet denies blocking Belbek airport (but apparently not Simferopol?) http://t.co/zlYFqlKoeh

03:30 AM - 28 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The AP reports the men have apparently apologized and left Simferopol Airport after no Ukrainian troops had landed at the airport.

David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

Apparently the airport has "no comment," on the situation but, as the the volunteer Vladimir told Reuters, the airport seems to be functioning normally.

Cate Sevilla is the UK managing editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Cate Sevilla at .

Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71

Contact Max Seddon at max.seddon@buzzfeed.com.

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