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Ukrainian head of navy defects to "Autonomous Republic of Crimea"

Rear Admiral Berezovsky has pledged his allegiance to Crimea in act deemed as treason by the interim government in Kiev.
Rear Admiral Berezovsky has pledged his allegiance to Crimea in act deemed as treason by the interim government in Kiev.

Newly appointed head of the Ukrainian Navy, Rear Adm. Denys Berezovsky has defected to Crimea in an oath of allegiance to its unrecognized pro-Russian leader prime minister of the region, Sergei Aksyonov.

I swear allegiance to the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea" Adm. Berezovsky said in a public statement before cameras.

Berezovsky was only made chief of the navy on Saturday, just as the growing tensions in Crimea were worsening between Moscow and the interim government in Kiev. The government thus far has said that Aksyonov's appointment is unconstitutional. As for Adm. Berezovsky, he has been removed from his position by interim Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh, and a case of treason has been launched against him.

Aksyonov announced that he has given orders to the Ukrainian naval forces in the peninsula region to disregard any orders from the "self-proclaimed" authorities now running the country in Kiev. He went on to state that this day, March 2, would go down in history as the birthday of the "navy of the autonomous republic of Crimea," pledging as well to "strictly obey the orders of the supreme commander of the autonomous republic of Crimea" and "defend the lives and freedom" of the people living there.

According to BBC news, a loud explosion was heard in Simferopol, Crimea's capital city, but no details, or confirmation of an explosion is of yet available.

While Ukraine sits on "the brink of disaster," the US, France, the UK, and Canada continue suspending preparations for the G8 summit which was set to take place in Sochi in June. Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, they are now in the midst of conducting emergency talks.

Meanwhile, according to unconfirmed reports, the Russian military is beginning to dig trenches along the border with mainland Ukraine. Admiral Yuri Ilyn of Russia's Navy has said:

I'm very sorry that Ukrainian soldiers and sailors are hostages of this situation."

Ukraine has withdrawn coast guard vessels from two ports in Crimea and redirected them to other bases in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. As of now, there are no further reports of conflict regarding the military bases that refused to open the gates to the Russian military earlier today.

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