MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Crimean self-defense forces, which will soon be legalized as the "people's militia," are more effective than governmental agencies, acting Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said in an interview with the Kommersant Vlast newspaper published Monday.
"I can say, without any doubt, that today the self-defense is more efficient than the governmental forces," Aksyonov said.
Crimean self-defense battalions were formed in spring after Crimea cut ties with Ukraine and reunited with Russia on March 16 as its Russian-speaking population refused to recognize the new coup-imposed authorities in Kiev.
The move was preceded by a referendum, in which reunification with Russia was backed by over 96 percent of voters. After the reunion, the Crimean parliament transferred the functions of the "people's militia" to the self-defense battalions and submitted a bill to formalize their legal status.
Russia's reunification with its former republic of Crimea in mid-March drove a wedge between Moscow and largely pro-Kiev Western countries led by the United States. The split prompted a major geopolitical standoff and rounds upon rounds of sanctions from the European Union and Washington.