Crimea Adopts Provisional Declaration of Independence
Published: March 12, 2014 (Issue # 1801)
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) Ч The Crimean parliament voted Tuesday that the Black Sea peninsula will declare itself an independent state if its residents agree to split off from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum.
CrimeaТs regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a Уdeclaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.Ф The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in favor of joining Russia in the referendum.
Related: Top 5 Myths About RussiaТs Invasion of Crimea
Western nations have said they will not recognize the vote as legitimate. But the move might be used as an attempt to ease tensions with Crimea existing as a self-proclaimed state without Russia moving quickly to incorporate it into its territory.
After a brief war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, some leaders in GeorgiaТs breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia also asked to join Russia, but their request was never granted.
Meanwhile, UkraineТs acting president on Tuesday called for the formation of a national guard and for the mobilization of reserves and volunteers into the countryТs armed forces.
Oleksandr Turchynov asked the national parliament to approve turning the countryТs Interior Ministry troops into a National Guard Уto defend the country and citizens against any criminals, against external and internal aggression.Ф
Related: Putin Defends Crimea VoteТs Legality to Cameron, Merkel
Turchynov said that the mobilization will include those who have previously served in the army and volunteers.
Russian forces have strengthened their control over UkraineТs Crimea region in the run-up to a referendum set for Sunday on whether to split off and become part of Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is due to fly to Washington to meet with Barack Obama Wednesday, called on Western nations to defend Ukraine against a nation Уthat is armed to the teeth and that has nuclear weapons.Ф
Meanwhile, UkraineТs fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, accused the countryТs new government of fomenting civil war. For his part, Yatsenyuk asked Russia, the U.S. and European Union member Britain to abide by a treaty signed in 1994, in which they pledged to guarantee UkraineТs security in exchange for giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons.
УWe are not asking for anything from anyone,Ф Yatsenyuk told parliament. УWe are asking for just one thing: military aggression has been used against our country. Those who guaranteed that this aggression will not take place, must from the one side pull out troops and from the other side must defend our independent, sovereign state.Ф
Yanukovych, speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, repeated the Russian claim that the new Ukrainian authorities are kowtowing to radical nationalists, and that they posed a threat to Russian-speaking eastern regions.