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Gunmen surround Ukraine military base in standoff

In a live tweet by Bill Neely regarding the crises in Ukraine: "Russian troops at gate of Ukrainian military base. Standoff continues."
Bill Neely (via

Russian soldiers surrounded a military base in Perevalne today, March 2, in a standoff between themselves and the Ukrainian military, demanding the solders stationed inside lay down their weapons. The security concerns for Russia largely regard the Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

Though heavily outnumbered, the Ukrainian forces remained resolute in their defense of the military base, however, neither side has opened fire thus far.

Most of Crimea still remains pro-Russian, with the self-defense force protecting a statue of Lenin in the Crimean capital of Simferopol as the tension worsens between Moscow and Ukraine. The call to divide Ukraine between two political factions is still being called upon by the large numbers of civilians living in Crimea.

According to NBC News' chief global correspondent, Bill Neely, the Russian force has overwhelmed and successfully secured the Crimean region without having to fire a round. They're armed with assault rifles, and rocket propelled grenades at the ready.

This demonstration represents the national division between Eastern and Western Ukraine, who are in support of the European Union and reformed government, and pro-Russian political stance respectively.

There have also been reports that the city of Kharkiv saw action as local militias put down pro-Western demonstrators who attempted to assault another Lenin statue in Ukraine in defiance. The interim government is nearly powerless in this regard, calling military reservists, putting the ground forces on combat alert, and appealing to the west for help.

A division of the Ukraine's East and West regions seems highly probable at this time, as President Vladimir Putin demonstrates no sign that he will give into international pressure to withdraw his forces from Crimea and Ukraine.

Although there are still no signs that a Western or United Nations intervention will take place, NATO's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urged Moscow to "de-escalate the tensions." President Obama as well spoke with Putin by telephone on Saturday, expressing his concerns about, "Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, and territorial integrity," according to the White House statement.

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