Armed men patrol at the airport in Simferopol, Crimea.
The White House urged Russia to respect the territorial
integrity of Ukraine, saying any intervention would be a grave
White House spokesman Jay Carney's comment came as reports
surfaced of armed men having taken control of two airports in
the Crimea region of southern Ukraine in what the new
Ukrainian leadership called an invasion.
Carney said U.S. officials are seeking clarification on the
origin of the armed men.
"Intervention would be a grave mistake," he said.
He said Washington is concerned about reports that there
might have been an intervention by "an outside state."
The United States has sided with the pro-Western Ukrainian
leadership that took over after the departure of pro-Moscow
President Viktor Yanukovich early this week.
Carney said U.S. officials have stressed in conversations
with Russian officials that the territorial integrity of
Ukraine must be respected. President Barack Obama spoke to
Russian President Vladimir Putin a week ago.