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Crimea parliament announces referendum on Ukrainian region’s future

RT | February 27, 2014

The parliament of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea has announced it will hold a referendum to determine the region’s future amid the turmoil in the country.

The region’s parliament said the all-Crimean referendum is about “improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers.”

“According to the underlying principles of democracy, the presidium of the Crimean parliament considers that the only possible way out of the situation on the ground is applying the principles of direct rule of the people. We are confident that only by holding an All-Crimean referendum on the issue of improving the status of the Autonomy and expanding its powers Crimeans will be able to determine the future of the Autonomy on their own and without any external pressure,” Oksana Korniychuk, the press secretary of the head of the parliament, said in a statement on Thursday.

As a result of “the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists supported by armed gangs,” Crimea’s peace and order is “under threat,” the spokeswoman stressed.

The Wednesday clashes near the parliament’s building in Simferopol, which led to two deaths and about 30 injuries is “a result of rampant political extremism and violence gripping the country,” which could bring Ukraine to “complete chaos, anarchy and economic catastrophe,” Korniychuk said.

The Autonomy’s parliament thus takes “full responsibility for the future of Crimea,” relying on the will of its people, she said.

Korniychuk spoke hours after an unknown group of people barricaded themselves inside the building of the Crimean parliament and installed Russian flags there. The group, however, allowed MPs inside, including the speaker of the parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov. The MPs then held their session as planned.

Hundreds of protesters gathered near the building on Thursday, demanding a referendum on the status of Crimea be held. They held banners reading “Crimea for peace!” and “Crimea for a referendum!”

The demonstration came a day after two rivaling rallies of ethnic Russians and ethnic Crimean Tatars clashed near the parliament. While the pro-Russian rally demanded the parliament dismiss the new Ukrainian government as “illegitimate,” the Tatars spoke out against a split. Some of the demonstrators openly demanded Crimea be returned to Russia, from which it was separated in 1954, while others shouted “Crimea is Ukraine!”

February 27, 2014 - Posted by | Aletho News | , , ,

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