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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Crimean Parliament Forms New Cabinet

RIA Novosti

21:12 28/02/2014

SIMFEROPOL, February 28 (RIA Novosti) – The regional parliament of Crimea, a largely Russian-speaking part of Ukraine, has formed a new Cabinet of ministers, parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov told reporters Friday.

The speaker and the newly appointed pro-Russia prime minister, Sergei Aksenov, said the names of the other ministers would later be released by the parliament's press service.

Crimea, an autonomous republic within Ukraine, is now at the center of the ongoing crisis in the country as pro-Russia groups move to distance themselves from a reformed national parliament that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday.

The Crimean parliament voted on Thursday to approve Aksenov, leader of the Russian Unity party, as head of the region's government.

The new prime minister immediately pledged allegiance to Yanukovych – now in refuge in Russia – saying he still considered him Ukraine's legitimate head of state.

On Thursday evening, the parliament resolved to hold a popular referendum on granting greater autonomy to Crimea. The vote is scheduled for the same day as the country's early presidential election, May 25.

The main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is located on the Crimean Peninsula at the port of Sevastopol. Kiev has warned that any move of Russian soldiers outside the base would be seen as a sign of aggression.

Moscow in turn has said the placement of personnel and weapons at the bases are in strict compliance with standing agreements between the two countries.

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