'Believed to Be Russian Soldiers'

Less than two weeks ago, after Ukrainian protesters appeared to have ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, thousands of soldiers bearing no insignia or identifying marks began appearing in Ukraine's pro-Russian Crimean peninsula. Russian authorities deny that these men are invading Russian soldiers, instead describing them as "local self-defense forces" wearing uniforms available from army surplus centers. However, numerous reports on the ground have identified the troops as Russian, including direct interviews with several soldiers. As Crimean lawmakers set up a March 16 referendum on independence from Ukraine, these armed men have surrounded numerous Ukrainian military facilities, blocking entrances, and set up roadblocks on highways throughout the region.

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