MGN Online

Published: Mar 23, 2014 7:57 PM EDT

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Russia is deploying thousands of troops in its regions near the Ukrainian border and concerns are high that it could use unrest in the east as a pretext for crossing the border.
    
On Sunday, Russia's deputy defense minister was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the number of Russian troops in the area of the Ukrainian border does not exceed international treaty limits.
    
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian air force commander is being held after his base in Crimea was stormed by pro-Russian forces, and the acting president is calling for his release.
    
It's unclear if the forces that seized Belbek Air Force base near Sevastopol on Saturday were Russian military or local pro-Russia militia.
    
The Russian Defense Ministry says the Russian flag is now flying over 189 military facilities in Crimea.
    
Russia formally annexed Crimea last week, a move that Western countries say is illegitimate. The U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions on Russia in the dispute, but Moscow appears unmoved.

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