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SIMFEROPOL, January 21. /TASS/. Participants of an illegal armed unit established in Ukraine’s Kherson Region on the border with Russia’s Crimea will be put on wanted list, Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya said Thursday in an interview with Rossiya television channel journalists.
Earlier Thursday, Poklonskaya told TASS investigative bodies of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) Department in Crimea have initiated a criminal case over the establishment of an illegal armed formation in the Kherson Region.
"Over the establishment of an illegal armed unit on the territory of the Kherson Region, mentioned by [Lenur] Islyamov [former Crimean deputy premier, an organizer of the peninsula’s blockade], the republic’s prosecutor’s office sent materials to FSB Crimean Department investigative bodies," Poklonskaya said.
"Today the decision was made to initiate a criminal case under Part 1 Article 208 of the Russian Criminal Code," she said.
The punishment under the article envisions up to 15 years in prison.
Earlier, Islyamov announced the creation in the Kherson Region of Ukraine on the border with Crimea of an armed Crimean Tatar volunteer battalion named after Noman Celebicihan. The formation, he said, would make strikes on the territory of Crimea.
Ukrainian media also reported that financial support to the new armed unit could be provided by Turkish authorities. At least, journalists said, that was discussed at a recent meeting of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan with leaders of Majlis not registered in Russia, Ukrainian parliament deputies Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov.
Chubarov and Dzhemilev have been put by Russia’s law enforcement bodies on an international wanted list, Islyamov on a federal wanted list.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.