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Crimean army created against illegal armed groups on peninsula

SIMFEROPOL, March 10, /ITAR-TASS/. Crimea (autonomy seeking independence from Ukraine) created its own army to protect its people from illegal armed groups that were present on the peninsula, its Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Monday, March 10.

“The Supreme Soviet [parliament] gave me powers [to create the Armed Forces] because of the presence of illegal armed groups on the peninsula,” he said.

Aksyonov stressed that the Crimean Armed Forces had been created lawfully by a decision of the parliament. “The army is subordinated to me personally. Once the reorganisation of the top government bodies is over, military units will be re-subordinated to the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Crimea,” he said.

The prime minister noted that if Crimea joined Russia, its Armed Forces would be incorporated into the Russian army. “A navy of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will be created and subsequently, if the referendum gives the go-ahead for accession to Russia, it will be incorporated into the Russian Armed Forces,” he said.

Aksyonov did not rule out that Ukrainian military personnel stationed in Crimea might take an oath of allegiance to Crimea and later to Russia. “The Ukrainian army, all military units are blocked by self-defence units now. After the referendum makes the decision to join Russia, they will have to either leave Crimea or, if they are prepared to serve in the Armed Forces, take an oath of allegiance to the autonomy or the Russian Federation. This will be clear at the time the referendum takes place,” Aksyonov said.