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Video: Ukrainian pilots escape with aircraft as troops 'take over' air base

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Published on Mar 5, 2014

Four Ukrainian MI-8 helicopters and three planes managed to escape from a naval air base in Crimea on Tuesday (March 4) which was later allegedly taken over by Russian troops. The aircraft took off from a base in Saki in western Crimea after reportedly being offered to report to new Crimean government.They safely landed in mainland Ukraine near the town of Mykolaiv.

Russia and the West are facing the most serious confrontation since the end of the Cold War over influence in Ukraine. Russia has effectively occupied the Crimea region, raising the tensions in the region. Russian forces remain in control of Crimea, where Interfax reported they seized control of two Ukrainian missile defence sites overnight, and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave no sign of backing down. Putin on Tuesday defended Russia's actions in Crimea, which used to be Russian territory, and said he would use force only as a last resort.

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