(QHA) -

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed grave concerns over the situation in Crimea and said it is sending an envoy to Crimea after pro-Russian gunmen stormed government buildings in the autonomous region, Press TV reports.

As reported on Thursday, an unknown group of people seized government buildings in Simferopol and hoisted Russian flags above the governments' headquarters.

 Armed men also took control of two airports in Crimea on Friday what Ukraine's government described as an invasion and occupation by Russian forces.

Meanwhile, the Crimean Parliament approved a referendum to determine the region’s future amid ongoing crisis in the country.

The regional parliament voted 61 to 64 in favor of holding the referendum on May 25, the date already set for snap presidential elections across Ukraine.

The parliament said the referendum is about “improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers.”

Legislators also voted 55 to 64 to dismiss the region's current government, which has backed the new interim authorities in Kiev.

The parliamentarians relieved Anatoly Mogilev from his duties as Crimean Prime Minister and elected leader of Crimea’s Russian Unity party, Sergey Aksyonov.

QHA