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Crimea adopts ruble, sets up new central bank after vote on seeking to join Russia

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MOSCOW - Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula is taking steps to integrate its financial system with Russia's — including adopting the ruble currency — after the region overwhelmingly voted in favour of seceding and seeking to join Russia.

The West does not recognize the referendum, saying it violates both Ukrainian and international norms. Moscow considers the vote legitimate and Russian President Vladimir Putin will address his parliament on the issue Tuesday.

Crimea on Monday declared itself independent, with its parliament adopting a flurry of new legislation. The region set up a new central bank that Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev said will later function as a regional branch of the Russian central bank.

Russia will send Crimea 1 billion rubles ($30 million) "in the coming days" to help it stabilize its financial situation, Temirgaliyev told the Interfax news agency on Monday.

A separate decree named the Russian ruble as an official currency, though Crimea will continue using the Ukrainian hryvnia as well through 2015.

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