Autonomous Defense Ministry to be Created in Crimea, Says Regional PM
The autonomous Ukrainian region of Crimea will have a separate Ministry of Defense.
Sergey Aksenov, Prime Minister of Crimea, has announced the move at a press conference in the capital Simferopol, Russian agency RIA Novosti has reported.
Aksenov had already stated that all military structures in Crimea are working at his command.
He explained that orders by Kiev were sharply contradicting the interests of the autonomous region, where tensions have been constantly rising over the past days after Russia approved sending troops on the peninsula.
The Crimean PM also declared he had called for the establishment of people's self-defense militias, units that could be seen across the region as early as Friday last week.
Aksenov was appointed head of the regional government on February 27 and does not recognize the legitimacy of interim President Olexandr Turchynov and the newly formed cabinet in Kiev.
He set a referendum on Crimea's status as an autonomous region, which was firstly scheduled for May, but is reportedly likely until the end of March and could expand its question to the prospects of full independence.
About 16 000 troops have been deployed to Crimea according to Ukraine's UN envoy Yuriy Sergeyev.
As the BBC reports, Moscow has established "de facto military control" in Crimea.
The eastern border of Ukraine with Russia, however, is still controlled by Ukrainian guards.