Armed men seize govt HQ, raise Russian flag in Simferopol, Crimea

Armed men seize govt HQ, raise Russian flag in Simferopol, Crimea

Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament on Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula on Thursday and raised the Russian flag.

A Reuters correspondent on the scene in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, said the door of the parliament was blockaded from inside by tables and chairs and no one was now able to enter.

Interfax news agency quoted a witness as saying there were about 60 people inside and that they had many weapons. It said no one had been hurt when the buildings were seized in the early hours of Thursday.

“I heard gunfire in the night, came down and saw lots of people going in. Some then left. I’m not sure how many are still in there,” a 30-year-old man who gave his name only as Roman told Reuters. …

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A local Tatar leader, Refat Chubarov, said on Facebook: “I have been told that the buildings of parliament and the council of ministers have been occupied by armed men in uniforms that do not bear any recognizable insignia.”

“They have not yet made any demands,” he said.

About 100 police were gathered in front of the parliament building. Doors into the building appeared to have been blocked by wooden crates.

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