New Ukraine Leader Takes Strong Pro-Western Stance

Arseniy Yatsenyuk was approved as prime minister on Thursday

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The new prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that his country’s future lies with the European Union and that he won’t accept a split with the restive southern Crimea region that is more closely aligned with Russia.

The parliament approved Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new prime minister on Thursday, the Associated Press reports, less than a week after protests forced the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, who still claims to be the country’s legitimate leader, and on Thursday appealed for protection from his Russian allies. Yatsenyuk, considered to have U.S. support, served as an economy minister, foreign minster and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010.

Yatsenyuk called for friendly relations with Russia, but after dozens of gunmen seized control of the regional parliament building in the Crimean peninsula where Russia retains a heavy influence, he said Crimea “has been and will be a part of Ukraine.”