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Crimea Deputies Back Acting Leader Sergei Aksyonov to Head Republic

Sergei Aksyonov (L) reacts after the announcement of the results of an election held by the deputies of the State Council of Crimea in Simferopol, October 9, 2014.

The former acting head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, has been formally appointed to lead the region after deputies on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of the move.

Aksyonov has been serving as the de-facto head of the republic since April, when President Vladimir Putin appointed him to the role.

Aksyonov, who took his oath in front of the 75 deputies, will also serve as the republic's prime minister, a position he has held since March, the Interfax news agency reported.

Aksyonov was named prime minister by the Crimean parliament ahead of a March 16 referendum on the region's independence, and he subsequently asked Russia's assistance to secure Crimea's independence from Ukraine.

In the aftermath of the vote, the EU, the U.S. and Canada added him to their list of sanctioned individuals in relation to the crisis in Ukraine, subjecting him to travel bans and asset freezes.

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