Ukranian military commander told ITV News the Russian men "have come to protect us. So why are their guns pointing towards our base?"
Fear is shaping events in Crimea, the multi-ethnic peninsula that finds itself at the heart of a tussle between great powers.
The Cold War has returned with a vengeance, judging by the mood in Washington with talk of extensive sanctions against Russia.
President Barack Obama has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he welcomes the unified position of the United States and the European Union on Ukraine.
The leaders agreed that Russia must pull back its forces from Ukraine's Crimea region, allow international observers and human rights monitors into Crimea to make sure the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine are protected, and support free and fair presidential elections.
They also discussed the need for Russia to form a contact group to hold direct talks between the two governments.
They are early risers. By the crack of dawn they go and buy groceries and bread, and then they gather in front of the Regional Government's building in the centre of the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
They head for the dozens of police lined up to protect the building and engage with them in hefty discussions, endless tirades venting their grievances.
They are Eastern Ukraine's Babuchka's, older women, who have worked hard to raise families and cared for their children and men and now live off a small pension earned in Soviet times, which they are afraid to lose should Ukraine turn Westwards.
Men tell me they are the real power in these parts of the world. And with the government here lacking any credibility and the police uncertain of its allegiance, they may be right
Their fears date back to WWII, when the Western Ukrainians sided with the Nazis and committed many horrific massacres.
They may be wearing fur coats, nothing fancy in this cold climate, and are armed with handbags which they use to repel any dissenting voices from the square. Some chase away a strong and bearded man with a broomstick.
Over lunch some of them turn up at the Opera on Lenin square to listen to a concert for women's day, then they return the
After dark we see them battling the riot police in front of the security services building, the former KGB headquarters, where they demand the release of their leader.
There are, of course, also others. More brutal and younger men, some say bussed in from Russia, but in all they don't seem to number more than a few hundred in this city of 2 million.
There seem to be an equal number of militant pro Ukrainians, with nobodyknowing what the great majority of people here really stand for.
That is why a referendum may not be such a bad idea.
Armed men have reportedly entered and taken control of a Ukrainian military post in Crimea, although no shots are believed to have been fired, according to Reuters reporter on the ground.
US sanctions against Moscow "would hit the United States like a boomerang", Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mr Lavrov also warned Mr Kerry against "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm relations with Russia during a phone conversation.
A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin has said calls for Russia to start talks with Ukraine under western mediation "make us smile".
Earlier, Barack Obama urged Mr Putin to accept the terms of a potential diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.
Russian president Vladimir Putin's spokesman has said there will be no new Cold War with the West despite "deep disagreement" over Ukraine, adding that common ground can be found.
"There still remains hope...that some points of agreement can be found as a result of dialogue - which our partners, thank God, have not yet rejected," state-run RIA quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
"I believe that it (a new Cold War) has not started and I would like to believe it will not start," he added.
Russia's foreign ministry said they would not "accept the language of sanctions and threats" from the European Union, after leaders agreed to freeze talks on visa-free travel.
Watch John Irvine's report on the crisis in Crimea on the ITV Evening News at 6.30.
Military observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have been unable to enter Ukraine's Crimea peninsula for the second day in a row.
US President Barack Obama and David Cameron have urged Russia to allow international monitors into the area in a bid to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.
"Military assessment visitors from OSCE States denied entry into Crimea on Friday, heading back to Kherson to plan next steps," the organisation said on Twitter.
ITV News International Correspondent John Irvine has tweeted from a Ukrainian radio base outside Sevastopol, Crimea:
Inside the base the soldiers have set up rudimentary defences http://t.co/n9mv4NcJMi
A truck has parked just outside the base perimeter. Some onlookers think its radio signal jamming equipment on top http://t.co/kQH3C1id63