Obama Warns Russia: 'There Will Be Costs to Military Intervention in Ukraine'
President Obama responded to the crisis in Ukraine today from the White House.
The president said, “We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine."
“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," he stated.
President Obama said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin a few days ago about being part of an international community’s effort to support a united Ukraine. He added, “But any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing."
The president also stressed that the Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with European allies, President Obama said the U.S. is urging an end to the violence.
Watch President Obama's statement above, and read more about the Ukraine crisis below via FoxNews.com:
Armed forces were blocking the two main airports in the strategic peninsula of Crimea on Friday in what Ukraine's new government described as a takeover by Russian forces, as the country asked the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the escalating conflict.
No violence was reported, and flights continued to operate at the airport serving Simferopol, the regional capital. It was not immediately clear whether the airport in Sevastopol, owned by the Ukrainian defense ministry, was open but there are no scheduled services to the facility.
Russia's Black Sea fleet, which is based in the area, denied its forces were involved in seizing one of the airports, Interfax news agency reported, according to Reuters
The Russian foreign ministry refused a request for comment by The Associated Press while a spokesman for the Russian defense ministry also had no comment.
Ukraine's new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote in a Facebook post that the Belbek international airport in Sevastopol was blocked by military units of the Russian navy.
"I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation," Avakov said.
But Russia's Black Sea fleet issued a prompt denial of involvement in the activity, saying, "No Black Sea Fleet units have moved toward (the airport), let alone taking any part in blockading it,'' Interfax quoted a spokesman for the fleet as saying.
Early on Friday, dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.
At Simferopol airport, an Associated Press photographer saw military men armed with assault rifles Friday morning patrolling the airport. The men were wearing uniforms without any insignia. Most refused to talk to journalists. One of them, who identified himself only as Vladimir, said they were part of a "self-defense unit" that was making sure that no "fascists" would arrive from Kiev or elsewhere.
A Reuters eyewitness at the scene said the men were dressed in full battle gear and carrying assault rifles and machine guns. They were reportedly moving freely in an out of a control tower.
On Thursday, 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.
Ukrainian officials sharply denounced the move. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area, but didn't confront the gunmen.
In Kiev, Ukraine's parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.
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.
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