SIMFEROPOL, April 12. /ITAR-TASS/. A total of 150 branches of Russian banks will start operating in Crimea, a former Ukrainian region that recently joined Russia, within the next week, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

“We are convinced that literally within a week, maximum 10 days, some 150 branches will work here,” Aksyonov told journalists on Friday as quoted by the CrimeaInform news agency. He said many Ukrainian banks worked in Crimea on leased premises. The premises will now house structures of Russian banks, including the Russian National Commercial Bank. Aksyonov apologized to Criemans for “temporary inconveniences connected first of all with the operation of the banking system”. “I am convinced that within the next week, all will work in full and [residents] will be able to withdraw cash from ATMs and bank branches to the full,” he said.

Russia incorporated the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and reunify with the Russian Federation. The events followed a coup in Ukraine in February that occurred after months of anti-government protests, often violent. Crimea and Russia refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities.

Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has become part of Russia. In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.