Armed men occupy parliament in Ukraine's Crimea region

Kiev (Alliance News) - Ukrainian police and troops were put on high alert after pro-Russian armed ...

Alliance News 27 February, 2014 | 8:29AM
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Kiev (Alliance News) - Ukrainian police and troops were put on high alert after pro-Russian armed men seized government and parliament buildings in the Crimea region on Thursday.

The gunmen, presumed to be members of self-defence units that emerged on the Black Sea peninsula after the toppling of president Viktor Yanukovych at the weekend, hoisted Russian flags on the buildings, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called the incident a provocation and said that he put police and interior troops on alert.

"The provocateurs are on the march. It's time for cool heads and ... precise action," Avakov wrote on Facebook.

The seizure of the buildings comes a day after clashes broke out in Crimea - an autonomous region that leans towards Moscow - between pro-Russian separatists and supporters of the new leadership in Kiev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered military manoeuvres along the Ukrainian border. In the Crimean port of Sevastopol is home to a large Russian naval base.

The combat-readiness drills, which Russia's defence minister said were "by and large" not linked to the events in Kiev, were criticized by the US.

The Ukrainian parliament was later Thursday due to appoint Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a key figure in the protests that led to Yanukovych's ousting, as interim prime minister.

Yatsenyuk, 39, and other proposed cabinet members were nominated by anti-government protest leaders, who presented them from the stage on Kiev's Independence Square, the base for the three months of demonstrations that led to the departure of Yanukovych.

Copyright dpa

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