Crimea state television occupied by armed groups

Friday, February 28, 2014

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - The official radio and television building in the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in south Ukraine, was occupied by pro-Russia armed groups on Friday.

The latest occupation in Simferopol came after the parliament building, prime ministry and airport were seized by armed men this week. Officials inside the building told Anadolu Agency the groups have not harmed any of the personnel in the building.

The political situation in Crimea, an autonomous republic in Ukraine`s south, has become increasingly tense since Ukraine was hit by large-scale protests that eventually led to the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

Crimea’s Parliament elected a pro-Russia government while under occupation on Thursday and announced it will hold a referendum on May 25 to decide its future.

Following decades of aggresion by the Soviet Union, the Crimean population today is overwhelmingly dominated by ethnic Russians, according to the last official census. Crimean Tatars comprise approximately 13 percent of the population.

Refat Chubarov, the chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, said in a written statement on Friday that he does not recognize the new government because it was formed in a "questionable" way.

Chubarov claimed the new government tried to "buy out" some Crimean Tatar deputies to consolidate its power in the parliament.

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