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Ukraine denounces ‘armed invasion’ as suspected Russian forces raid Crimea airports

Ukraine’s interior minister claims Russian forces have now taken control of two airports in Crimea.

Eyewitnesses in the regional centre of Simferopol say the group was dressed in the same clothing as those who seized the parliament in Crimea yesterday.

One man in uniform told euronews: “We want the people of Crimea to understand that we will stay here for a long, long period of time and that it’s a place not only for Russians and Tatars, but also for Ukrainians, Germans, Jews and they want to live here in peace.”

An airport spokesperson said the attackers eventually abandoned their plans and apologised.

But shortly afterwards a military airport near the port of Sevastopol was seized. There are no reports of any bloodshed or clashes near where the Russian Black Sea fleet has a base.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has described the raid as an armed invasion in violation of international accords.


Ukraine crisis – how it unfolded

NOVEMBER 2013
24: Thousands protest in Kyiv over government move to shelve EU association agreement.

DECEMBER
17: Ukraine secures a 11bn euro bailout from Russia.

JANUARY 2014
19: Up to 200,000 gather in Kyiv to show opposition to newly-enacted anti-protest laws. Clashes between police and protesters.
20: Clashes continue into second day.
22: Kyiv Post reports five killed and 300 injured as clashes intensify.
23: Truce announced which paves the way for arrested protestors to be released.
28: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns. Nine of 11 anti-protests laws repealed after vote in parliament. Stand-off continues between police and protesters in Kyiv.

FEBRUARY
18: 20,000 protestors march to parliament with MPs set to debate a possible new constitution. At least 17 people, including seven policeman, are killed as fresh clashes erupt.
19: Truce agreed.
20: Truce breaks down, fresh clashes see 48-hour death toll rise to at least 77.
21: Peace deal signed, with talk of early elections. Violence spreads to western Ukraine.
22: Protesters freely take control of presidential buildings amid reports Yanukovych has fled. Parliament votes to remove him with fresh elections set for May. Yanukovych appears on TV and denounces a “coup dêtat”. Opposition leader Tymoshenko released from jail.
23: Tymoshenko ally becomes acting president, saying European integration is a priority
25: Parliament votes for ousted Yanukovych to be tried at International Criminal Court.
26: Interim government moves to disband Ukraine’s riot police force as leaks lift the lid on the high-living of ousted president Yanukovych
27: Reports emerge suggesting Yanukovych is now in Russia as parliament appoints new pro-EU government. It comes amid fears of separatism after pro-Russian gunmen takeover government building in Crimea.


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