Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Crimea seals Russia takeover, sets clocks to Moscow time

AFP, SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine

A Russian national flag flutters in the wind near a city clock tower at a railway station during celebrations to mark the transition to Moscow time in Simferopol, Ukraine, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Clocks in Crimea and Moscow struck midnight at the same time after the Russian-speaking peninsula jumped on Saturday into the timezone of its new masters.

Symbolically sealing Russia’s takeover of the formerly Ukrainian Peninsula, a ceremony was held to move the clocks two hours forward at the railway station in the main city of Simferopol.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov oversaw the switch at 10pm on Saturday to applause from hundreds of supporters who waved Russian flags and shouted: “Russia.”

Crimeans were expected to make the switch at 2am yesterday.

Moscow opted in 2011 to stay on permanent Summer Time, which is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

The rest of Europe prepared to set their clocks one hour forward for summer yesterday.

“Getting ready for time travel,” local newspaper Krymskaya Gazeta said, warning locals that the time switch could trigger health problems such as sleep disorder, apathy and depression.

However, regional legislative spokeswoman Lyudmila Mokhova, played down the shift.

“It is a little bit difficult,” she said. “But people are in high spirits and they are very happy.”

“Only the first three days will be difficult,” Simferopol resident Gleb Kulikov said.

“We always lived according to Moscow time before Ukraine’s independence,” his friend, Sergei Ageyev, added.

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