Armed masked men who call themselves members of Ukraine's disbanded elite Berkut riot police force stand at their checkpoint under a Russian flag on a highway that connect Black Sea Crimea peninsula to mainland Ukraine near the city of Armyansk, on February 28, 2014. The spiralling tensions in a nation torn between the West and Russia took today a severe new turn when Ukraine's interim president Oleksandr Turchynov accused Russian soldiers and local pro-Kremlin militia of staging raids on Crimea's main airport and another base on the southwest of the peninsula where pro-Moscow sentiments run high. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACH
ARMYANSK, Ukraine -- On a road leading to the Crimean peninsula, a journalist woke up with a start. He was being stared at, through the window of the car he and his colleague from a TV station hired to drive to Crimea on March 1, by at least a half-dozen men armed with Kalashnikovs.