On eve of vote, Russians reported in Ukraine area outside of Crimea

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from CNN,

Pro-Russia protesters remove a Ukrainian flag from a flagpole taken from a government building in Donetsk on March 9.

Ukrainian officials said about 60 Russian troops in six helicopters and assisted by three armored vehicles crossed into Ukraine’s Kherson region and are in the town of Strilkove, on a strip of land just northeast of Crimea.

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine said the Russian troops were on the ground Saturday and the Ukrainian guards had taken defensive positions.

The region is key to neighboring Crimea, because it gets electricity, freshwater and natural gas from there.

The Russians said they were in Kherson to prevent a possible terrorist attack on oil assets in the area, according to the border guard service.

No clashes have been reported, the border guards said.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry termed the move a “military invasion” and called on Russia to withdraw its forces.

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