23 Mormon missionaries moved in Ukraine

Pro-Russian soldiers block the Ukrainian naval base in the village of Novoozerne, some 91 km west of Crimean capital Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday, March 3, 2014. Ukraine says Russian forces controlling the strategic region of Crimea are demanding that the crew of two Ukrainian warships in Sevastopol's harbor must surrender. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has removed 23 missionaries from Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula amid civil unrest there.

The church says the 23 missionaries serving in the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission have been removed from the peninsula and transferred to other areas within the mission as a precautionary measure.

The Salt Lake City-based church, with several hundred missionaries and some 11,000 members in Ukraine, announced the move in a statement issued Saturday. The church has about 15 million members worldwide.

The church took the action hours after Russia captured the Crimean peninsula, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s new government came to power last week following months of pro-democracy protests against a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and his decision to turn Ukraine toward Russia instead of the EU.

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