Ukraine: Russian Forces "Blocking" Crimea Airport
Ukraine's interior minister has accused Russian forces of staging a "military invasion and occupation" at two airports in Ukraine's Crimea region.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page Friday that the armed men were blocking the Belbek airport in Sevastopol, where Russia has a naval base. Unidentified men were also patrolling the international airport in Simferopol, the Crimean capital.
Russia has not commented on the allegations, which come a day after gunmen had seized control of government buildings in Crimea, a Ukrainian region with strong ties to Moscow. The gunmen also raised the Russian flag.
Meanwhile ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, who says he is under Russian protection, is expected to address the media on Friday in a news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Late Thursday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to welcome the formation of a new government and pledge U.S. support as Ukraine undertakes reforms aimed at restoring the country's economic health. Ukraine's parliament approved Mr. Yatsenyuk, a popular, pro-Western opposition leader, as the head of the interim government earlier in the day.
Russian Opposition Leader Placed Under House Arrest
A Russian court has placed opposition leader Alexei Navalny under house arrest for at least two months.
Investigators on Wednesday asked the court to put Navalny under house arrest, arguing he has violated travel restrictions during a criminal investigation against him.
Navalny was already serving a seven-day sentence after being detained Monday with hundreds of other demonstrators at an unauthorized protest rally in Moscow.
Last year, a Russian appeals court suspended his five-year prison sentence after the anti-corruption blogger was convicted in July of organizing the 2009 theft of some $500,000 from a timber firm. Navalny described the trial as politically motivated.
The latest charges against him and his brother, Oleg, include fraud and money laundering of well over $1 million.