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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Ukraine’s navy chief switches allegiance to the pro-Russian authorities

Denis Berezovsky said in a televised statement that he “swears allegiance to the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea”.

Unidentified armed men patrol around a Ukraine infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine today.
Unidentified armed men patrol around a Ukraine infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine today.
Image: Press Association Images

UKRAINE’S NEWLY APPOINTED navy chief announced today he had switched allegiance to the pro-Russian authorities of the flashpoint peninsula of Crimea, a day after he was appointed to the post by interim leader Oleksandr Turchynov.

“I swear to execute the orders of the (pro-Russia) commander-in-chief of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Denis Berezovsky said in a televised statement from inside the Crimean headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, adding that he “swears allegiance to the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea”.

Crimea

The seismic declaration came as the Kiev authorities appeared to be losing control of the Russian-speaking Crimea peninsula, which has plunged further and further into disarray since the ouster of Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych last weekend.

Armed men that Kiev believes are backed by Moscow have since seized key government buildings in the region and surrounded Ukrainian military bases, and Russia’s parliament on Saturday approved the deployment of troops into the country.

Significant

It is unclear why and how Berezovsky switched his allegiance, but Crimea’s newly appointed pro-Russia prime minister Sergiy Aksyonov, who is not recognised by Kiev, said the announcement was a “historic event” at a joint press conference with the navy chief.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: ‘If Russia wants to be a G8 country it needs to act like one’ says US Secretary of State>

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