Crimea to set clocks to Russia time

As the rest of Europe prepares to set their clocks one hour forward for summer on Sunday, residents of Crimea braced for a two hour jump into the timezone of their new masters in Moscow.

To seal Russia's takeover of the formerly Ukrainian peninsula, a symbolic ceremony will be held to move the clocks forward at the railway station in the main city of Simferopol.

The Black Sea peninsula's prime minister Sergei Aksyonov will oversee the switch at 10pm (midnight Moscow, 2000 GMT).

Europeans and ordinary Crimeans make the daylight savings time switch at 2am on Sunday.

"Getting ready for time travel," said local newspaper Krymskaya Gazeta (Crimean Newspaper), warning locals the time switch could trigger health problems such as sleep disorder, apathy, depression and possible changes to the endocrine system.

But a spokeswoman for the regional legislature, Lyudmila Mokhova, said that the setting of the clocks forward was no hassle.

"It is a little bit difficult," she said. "But people are in high spirits and they are very happy."

Moscow in 2011 chose to stay on permanent Summer Time, which is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Earlier this month a majority of residents on the peninsula voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

The move came after Moscow sent troops to Crimea, claiming it needed to protect Russian speakers following a pro-European uprising in Kiev last month.

The West and Ukraine have condemned Moscow's takeover of the peninsula but Russian strongman Vladimir Putin hailed it as historic justice.

He has said Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's decision to give Crimea to the republic of Soviet Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake.