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Crimea Annexation Process 'Could Take 2 Weeks'

Published: March 14, 2014 (Issue # 1801)



  • Volodymyr Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea's parliament.
    Photo: Aleksandr Homutov / Wikimedia Commons

Russia could absorb Crimea, currently part of Ukraine, in a matter of weeks after Sunday's referendum on secession, the head of the region's parliament said in an interview.

The referendum in Crimea, where ethnic Russians make up about 60 percent of the population, is widely expected to return a favorable result that will pave the way for annexation by Moscow.

After the referendum, Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament will hold a formal vote on whether to approve annexation, before President Vladimir Putin gives his final backing.

"We believe here in Crimea that these three actions will take a maximum of two weeks, and by the end of this period we should have a constitution. We will send it for approval to the Russian Parliament," said Volodymyr Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea's parliament.

Crimea's parliament declared independence from Ukraine on Tuesday, adding in its statement that if the popular vote passes the country will become independent and will immediately request annexation by Moscow.

Konstantinov added that authorities in Crimea have already taken control of the region's Black Sea oil and gas fields, saying Russian companies including energy giant Gazprom should be involved in extracting the resources.

The move could foreshadow future disputes with energy-starved Ukraine, which also has territorial waters in the Black Sea.

"These fields and platforms will pass into the ownership of the Crimean Republic. We are already guarding them. These are our fields and we will fight for them," he said.

Officials in Crimea, which hosts a major Russian naval base, have refused to recognize as legitimate the country's new leadership that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22 following months of street demonstrations protesting his step back from closer ties with Europe.

Authorities in Kiev and international leaders have condemned the upcoming referendum as illegitimate and lashed out at the Kremlin for violating international law in attempting to annex the region.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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