MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday confirmed a young female lawyer who has won a huge Internet following for her attractive looks, especially in Japan, as prosecutor for Crimea after Moscow incorporated the region into its territory from Ukraine.
Ms Natalya Poklonskaya, 34, has become a web sensation around the world for her good looks and soft voice during the crisis between Russia and Ukraine over the Black Sea peninsula.
She became the top prosecutor for Crimea after publicly breaking with the authorities in Kiev and backing the leaders of the peninsula who supported Crimea becoming Russian territory.
After formally taking the peninsula last week, Russia has now confirmed she will be the chief prosecutor for Crimea as a constituent part of the Russian Federation.
"Natalya Vladimirovna Poklonskaya is named prosecutor for the Republic of Crimea," the General Prosecutor's official spokesman Maria Gridneva said in a statement to Russian news agencies.
Her appointment is part of a revamp by Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika of the Crimean prosecution structures after the region became part of Russia in defiance of the insistence of the international community that it is still part of Ukraine.
Ms Poklonskaya's March 11 news conference, where she appears in her prosecutor's uniform with a tie, has now garnered over 1.3 million hits on YouTube while a Facebook fan club has over 70,000 followers.
Her good looks and soft voice have shocked those used to butch-looking prosecutors in the former Soviet Union and also contrast with her sometimes uncompromising language.
Ms Poklonskaya has become a particular sensation in Japan, where images of her as a heroine in manga comic strips - complete with the tie of a prosecutor - have gone viral on the Internet.
"Believe me, my sweet looks have not impeded me during my 12 years work at the prosecutor's office," she told Russia's Life News television channel in an interview earlier this month.
"Maybe it can make my opponents drop their guard."
She condemned the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych as an "illegal coup and armed takeover".
The new authorities in Kiev have launched a criminal probe against her, but she said: "I am not a criminal. I am not afraid of them. Justice will prevail."
According to Life News, she likes to play the piano and draw. Her now-famous news conference is viewable on YouTube.