Protected or Surrounded? Pro-Russia Troops Besiege Crimea Base

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SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- Ukrainian forces set up rudimentary defenses as Russian-speaking forces surrounded and blockaded their base in Crimea on Friday.

"They say they have come to protect us," Lt. Cmdr. Yesin Alexander told John Irvine, a correspondent with NBC News' British partner ITV News. "So why are their guns pointing towards our base?"

Sevastopol is Ukraine's second largest port.

Crimea was effectively taken over last weekend by Russian-speaking forces. Russia denies that any of its active-duty troops have been involve and blames local pro-Moscow, "self-defense" militias.

Ukraine’s government and its Western backers are now trying to stop the country from splitting after the Crimean parliament voted to secede and join Russia on Thursday.