(QHA) -

Crimea's telephone network has been switched to Russian standards and a new area code has been designated for the region.

The press service for Crimea's Ministry of Information announced on February 12 that the previous Ukrainian code for the peninsula – 38 065 – was being changed to – 7 – the code for Russia, then 365.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in March, following a local referendum on the region's status, which was condemned as illegitimate by Western powers.

Crimean head Sergey Aksyonov, said only the country and area code was being changed and individual home phone numbers would stay the same.

On February 11, Crimean authorities nationalized the property of a local branch of Ukrainian telecom operator Ukrtelecom-- the major Ukrainian private telecommunication company belonging to Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, which held the monopoly over landline telephone services in the region. 

QHA