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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

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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