A riot police force that many accused of attacks on protesters has been disbanded, Ukraine's acting interior minister has said.
Arsen Avakov said that he has signed a decree to disband the force known as Berkut.
Anti-government protesters have blamed Berkut for violent attacks against peaceful demonstrators protesting against a decision to ditch closer ties with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead.
Ukraine has been consumed by a three-month-long political crisis.
President Viktor Yanukovych and protest leaders signed an agreement last week to end the conflict that left more than 80 people dead in just a few days in Kiev. Shortly after, Mr Yanukovych fled the capital for his power base in eastern Ukraine, but his exact whereabouts are unknown.
The move came as dozens of pro-Russian protesters rallied in the Crimean Peninsula city of Sevastopol, bitterly condemning politicians in Kiev who are trying to form a new government, with some even calling for secession from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a Russian MP stoked their passions by promising that Moscow would protect them as they chanted: "Russia, save us!"
The outburst of pro-Russian sentiment in the strategic peninsula on the Black Sea, home to a Russian naval base, came amid fears of economic collapse for Ukraine as the fractious foes of Mr Yanukovych failed to reach agreement on forming a new national government and said the task of assigning posts could not be completed before tomorrow.
While Ukraine's politicians struggled to reorganise themselves in Kiev, a Russian flag replaced the Ukrainian flag in front of the city council building in Sevastopol, 500 miles to the south. An armoured personnel carrier and two trucks full of Russian troops made a rare appearance on the streets, vividly demonstrating Russian power in the port city where the Kremlin's Black Sea Fleet is based.
Some called on Moscow to protect them from the movement that drove Mr Yanukovych from the capital three days ago.
"Bandits have come to power," complained Vyacheslav Tokarev, a 39-year-old building worker. "I'm ready to take arms to fight the fascists who have seized power in Kiev."
Mr Yanukovych's whereabouts are unknown but he was reportedly last seen in the Crimea, the staunchly pro-Russian region the size of Massachusetts. An arrest warrant for him has been issued over the killing of 82 people, mainly protesters, last week in the bloodiest violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.
His former chief of staff, Andriy Klyuyev, was wounded by gunfire on Monday and taken to hospital.
The pro-Moscow protesters gathered for a third day in front of administrative buildings in Sevastopol and in other Crimean cities. Protesters on Sunday numbered in the thousands.
"Only Russia will be able to protect the Crimea," said Anatoly Mareta, wearing the colours of the Russian flag on his arm.
"I hope for the Ossetian way," he added - a reference to the brief but fierce 2008 war in which Russian tanks and troops helped Georgia's separatist provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to break free. Russia has recognised both as independent states, but few other nations have.
Russia, which has thousands of Black Sea Fleet seamen at its base, so far has refrained from any sharp moves in Ukraine's political turmoil, but could be drawn into the fray if there are confrontations between the population in Crimea and the supporters of the new authorities.
US secretary of state John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Washington that their countries opposed any attempt to partition or divide the former Soviet republic into pro-Western and pro-Russian territories.
A senior Russian MP promised protesters that his government would protect its Russian-speaking compatriots in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine that tilt heavily towards Moscow.
"If lives and health of our compatriots are in danger, we won't stay aside," Leonid Slutsky told activists in Simferopol, the regional capital of Crimea.
Mr Slutsky's statements followed more cautious remarks by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who said that Moscow had no intention of interfering in Ukraine's domestic affairs but also warned the West against trying to turn the situation there to its advantage.
He nevertheless criticised the new authorities who assumed control after Mr Yanukovych fled, accusing them of failure to rein in radical groups.
Ukraine's interim leader, Oleksandr Turchinov, met security chiefs yesterday to discuss the tensions in Crimea and elsewhere. Russian president Vladimir Putin also summoned his top security officials to discuss Ukraine, but no details were released.