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Pro-Russia Armed Men Hold Crimea Government Buildings Under Seize

Published: February 28, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • The Crimean parliament was taken over by armed men early Thursday morning.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A group of armed men seized the Crimean Parliament and Council of Ministers buildings in the Ukrainian city of Simferopol on Wednesday night.

Russian flags are hoisted on top of the buildings, Interfax reported, adding that local sources told them that the men are part of a spontaneously "self-defense" unit formed by the region's Russian-speaking population. A flag reading "Crimea Russia" in Russian hangs on barricades outside the building's entrance.

Related: Tensions in Ukraine Grow Amid Russian Military Drills

Following the ousting of Kremlin ally and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from his post last Saturday, the predominantly pro-Russian Crimea has been divided between Russian separatists and ethnic Tatars who support the new Ukrainian government. In addition to ethnic ties, Russia also maintains a Black Sea naval base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The invaders have not yet issued any demands since seizing the buildings around 4 a.m. Crimean Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilev reportedly tried to conduct negotiations with the unknown men, but was unsuccessful.

Mogilev said that the men do not want to enter into negotiations or explain the reasons for their actions, but that members of the Supreme Council of Crimea were being allowed into the building. An unidentified Crimean government official told Interfax Thursday afternoon that a meeting of the parliament at 2 p.m. local time would discuss greater autonomy for the region.

The scene outside the building turned to one of pro-Russia support in the mid-afternoon, as between 300 and 400 young people with Russian flags crossed police lines and began shouting "Russia! Russia!" ahead of a the planned parliamentary session, Interfax reported. The demonstrations follow larger actions by both pro- and anti-Russia groups in front of the parliament on Wednesday, which turned into violent clashes between the two groups.

No one was injured in the building takeover, Mogilev's press secretary said. The surrounding area has been sealed off by police, and a work holiday has been declared in the city.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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