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In response, a dozen Ukrainian soldiers, some with clips in their rifles, placed a tank at the base’s gate, leaving the two sides in a tense standoff. It appeared to be the first known case of outmatched Ukrainians standing up to Russian military might.

Unidentified soldiers were also seen cutting power to the headquarters of the Ukrainian naval forces in Crimea - whose commander defected later Sunday and pledged his allegiance to “the people of Crimea.”

In Kiev, a Ukrainian security official said the head of the Ukrainian navy - Adm. Denis Berezovsky - had been dismissed and faces a treason investigation after declaring his allegiance to the pro-Russian government in Crimea and offering no resistance to the Russian troops.

The speaker of Crimea’s legislature, Vladimir Konstantinov, was quoted as saying local authorities do not recognize the new government in Kiev. He said a planned referendum on March 30 would ask voters about the region’s future status.

A convoy of hundreds of Russian troops was also seen heading toward Simferopol, the regional capital of Crimea. Armed men in military uniforms without markings strolled around Simferopol’s central plaza, Lenin Square, outside its Council of Ministers building.

“It is very important that we all do everything we can to calm tensions,” said British Foreign Minister William Hague, who flew to Kiev on Sunday.

He said he has urged Russian officials to “speak directly to the Ukrainians” but so far they had not.

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Sullivan reported from Perevalne, Ukraine. Associated Press writers Lara Jakes and Julie Pace in Washington, Greg Keller in Paris, Laura Mills and Lynn Berry in Moscow, Greg Katz in London and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.