SPIRALING

Armed Men Seize Crimea Parliament

Just a day after a standoff between pro-Russian groups and Crimean Tatars supportive of the recent ousting of Ukraine's president, armed men seized parliament and local government offices in Crimea Thursday morning, and raised the Russian flag above the building. The autonomous region was part of Russia until 1954, and now the pro-Russian groups are demanding Crimea secede from Ukraine or become part of Russia again. While Russian officials have denied plans for military intervention in the region, on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin ordered military preparedness testing for 150,000 Russian soldiers. On Thursday morning, deposed pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych declared from Russia, "I still consider myself to be the lawful head of the Ukrainian state, chosen freely by the will of the Ukrainian people."