TODAY   |  March 01, 2014

Turmoil in Ukraine as Russian forces move in

Tension is rising in Ukraine’s Crimea region as Russian troops continue to arrive. The military airbase is now in Russian hands, taken from Ukrainian control. NBC’s Bill Neely reports.

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>>> russian forces appear to be firmly in control of the crimea region of ukraine this morning with troops pouring in and the pro- russian prime minister there claiming he's controlling them. this comes a day after president obama warned russia it should stay out. bill neely is right in the middle of it all. bill, good morning.

>> reporter: yes, lester , crimea 's crisis has deepened overnight. armed troops have taken up position behind me outside crimea 's parliament. ukraine is alleging that more russian troops arrived here overnight and that those russian troops are trying now to seize control of a missile base. from russia 's president putin , silence. from president obama , a warning. a military air base now in russian hands, troops manning the entrance, one of three airports now taken from ukrainian control. crimea 's main airport is closed. armed, pro- russian forces protecting it, russian troops arriving by the planeload. ukraine says ten russian military transport planes arrived at this airport carrying men and ammunition. in two 11 attack helicopters. ukraine 's defense minister says 6,000 additional russian troops have arrived here. all of this after president obama warned russia not to intervene in ukraine .

>> the united states will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in ukraine .

>> reporter: in crimea 's capital, the pro-russian coup gathers pace. its new leader's announcing they now control ukraine 's army, navy and air force here. any commander who disappears, says the new prime minister, should leave. just beyond crimea 's borders and along the frontier with ukraine , russia continues one of its biggest military exercises since the fall of the soviet union . 150,000 men maneuvering as president putin is now, to show their strength to the world. the streets of crimea are calm. the vote here to decide who should rule has been brought forward to the end of the month. within weeks, crimea , always pro-russian, could be free of ukrainian rule for good. -- give in to what it calls russian provocation and that its troops are ready to hit back, if necessary. i mean, i don't think there is a strong chance of any kind of clash with russian troops, but lester , this place is a tinder box , the focus of a battle of wills now between east and west . lester .

>> all right, bill neely for