TODAY

TODAY   |  February 28, 2014

Armed men take control of Ukrainian airports

The crisis in Ukraine deepens as armed guards occupy two airports near Crimea, and the nation’s fugitive president speaks out while tensions between the U.S. and Russia grow. NBC’s Bill Neely reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> natalie's got the other big stories of the morning. the tensions in ukraine getting worse all the time.

>>> that's right. and major developments where armed men took control of two airports in the region and what the ukraine government described as invasion and occupation by russian forces . bill neely is in simferopol, ukraine with the latest.

>> reporter: yes, the crisis in ukraine is far from over. and it's centered now here where overnight where there was a lot of trouble, armed men took over the building behind me. there are fears that if ukraine is going to split, then this region could be the first to go. they are armed and determined and they're manning ukraine 's new front line . this is the main airport and these men say they're here to stop revolutionaries arriving from the capital and doing what they've done in kiev, overthrow pro-kremlin leaders. overhead a slight of military helicopters and a sense of more battle lines are being drawn here. on top of the parliament, russia 's flag is flying, put there by armed men who occupy the building and set up barricades. surrounded by crowds waving russian flags. military uniforms were everywhere, anger at ukraine 's revolution was raw. they're nothing but fascists, this man says, helped and trained by americans. the russian-speaking majority is making its view crystal clear here. there is no need for russia to stoke pro-moscow loyalty. this place is awash with it. just beyond the borders, russia is continuing the huge military exercises . 150,000 troops involved. russian jets flying along its border with ukraine . the message to ukraine 's new leaders is loud and clear. russia 's flag is hard to miss. this region still belongs to ukraine , but the fault line is clear, the future less so. well, not far from here, and in a few minutes time, the ousted ukrainian president viktor yanukovych will speak for the first time since fleeing this country. many people here still support him. the new government in the ukraine would like to see him tried for war crimes . natalie?

>> bill neely in ukraine for us this morning, thank you.