WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged all players in Ukraine's current crisis not to "inflame" an already tense situation in the country.
The top American envoy said he spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the morning over the phone, their second within two days, about reports of Russian presence in Russian-speaking Crimea Peninsula in southern Ukraine, where Russia has its Black Sea Fleet based, including personnel and armored vehicles in various places.
"While we were told that they are not engaging in any violation of the sovereignty and do not intend to, I nevertheless made it clear that that could be misinterpreted at this moment," Kerry told reporters along with visiting Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin at the State Department. "And that there are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation and not to send the wrong messages."
Crimea is now the focus of Ukraine's ongoing crisis, where an armed group took control of the airport in the capital city of Simferopol on Friday, one day after security forces were put on alert in response to unidentified gunmen's seizure of local government and parliament buildings.
Tensions flared up on the peninsula following the dismissal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last weekend by a parliament controlled by West-leaning opposition, who favor integration with the European Union instead of closer ties with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered soldiers to be ready for war games near Ukraine, while Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Alexandr Turchynov, also the acting president, warned that any troop movements outside Russia's base on Crimea "will be considered as military aggression."
Kerry said he was assured by Lavrov that "as a matter of policy " Russia has no intention to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine.
"Intervention would, in our judgment, be a very grave mistake," he warned. "It would be completely contrary to Russian policies as stated now with respect to Libya, Syria, other places."
White House spokesman Jay Carney voiced "deep concern" about reports of Russian intervention in Crimea, urging all parties to " avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to a miscalculation at this delicate time."
"We've obviously had and will continue to have direct communications with Russian government officials," he said at a regular press briefing.
He reiterated that Yanukovych lost legitimacy as the leader of Ukraine and abdicated his responsibilities after fleeing the national capital last weekend, and that the Ukrainian parliament is "acting responsibly" to fill the vacuum.
Yanukovych, speaking at a press conference on Friday in southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, said he would not ask Russia for military support to resolve domestic crisis, but he blamed some Western powers for the chaos in his country.
"Any military operation is unacceptable in that situation," he said. "Russia must use all available resources to put an end to the chaos and terror that exist in Ukraine today."
He blamed "irresponsible" Western powers for the chaos and lawlessness in his country. "Outcome of the crisis will be difficult as a result of irresponsible Western policy of supporting Maiden (the Independence Square)," he said.
The square in Ukraine's capital of Kiev was the focal point in anti-government protests that started in November after Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the EU.