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Ukraine's Newly Appointed Navy Chief Defects to Crimea's Pro-Russian Authorities

"I swear to execute the orders of the (pro-Russia) commander-in-chief of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea."

UPDATE — 3:20 p.m. ET: KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian security official says the head of the country's navy has been dismissed and faces a treason investigation after declaring allegiance to the pro-Russian government of the Crimea region.

Deputy National Security Council Secretary Viktoria Siumar told journalists at a briefing that Adm. Denis Berezovsky had been fired and replaced by another officer. She said he had offered no resistance when his headquarters was surrounded by pro-Russian forces and then transferred his allegiance to the regional parliament in Crimea.

The parliament has elected a pro-Russian leader who says he does not recognize the newly elected central government.

The new head of Ukraine's navy has reportedly switched his allegiance to Crimea's pro-Russian authorities.

According to the AFP, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky — who was just named as the navy chief Saturday — made the move Sunday during a televised statement.

"I swear to execute the orders of the (pro-Russia) commander-in-chief of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," he reportedly said inside the Crimean headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

He added that he "swears allegiance to the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," the AFP reported.

Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter


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