Ukraine—Dozens of armed men took control of the parliament and local government offices in the Ukrainian region of Crimea early Thursday, barricading themselves inside and raising a Russian flag above the building.
The commandeering of the building marks a sharp escalation of events in the ethnically Russian-dominated region that has become a flashpoint for a backlash against the pro-Western protesters that drove Ukraine's pro-Kremlin leader from power on Saturday
The occupation comes a day after a tense standoff outside the regional parliament building between thousands of pro-Russian protesters and Crimean Tatars who had largely backed the protest movement that forced President Viktor Yanukovych from power.
Some of the more radical Russian locals in Crimea—a Black Sea peninsula that belonged to Russia until 1954 and remains home to Russia's Black Sea fleet—are demanding that the autonomous region secede or once again become part of Russia.
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