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Duma Speaker pledges support for Crimea’s 'free and democratic choice'

March 07, 2014, 13:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Crimea’s parliament voted on Thursday to join the Russian Federation, which will be put to a referendum due on March 16
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Sergei Naryshkin in the State Duma (archive)

Sergei Naryshkin in the State Duma (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, March 07. /ITAR-TASS/. The parliamentary leader of Russia's Lower House State Duma has promised his counterpart on Crimea's Supreme Council that deputies would support the “free and democratic choice” of the population of Crimea and its Sevastopol port.

Crimean residents’ bid to ensure security was understandable and it was natural that the Crimean authorities wanted their approval “through a democratic procedure - a referendum,” Sergei Naryshkin told opposite number Vladimir Konstantinov on Friday.

“We realize that the decision of Crimea’s Supreme Council resulted from an acute political crisis in Ukraine and is connected with a bid to ensure the rights and freedoms of the citizens,” he said, noting also that the decision had been driven by reasons of “an historical, spiritual and world outlook nature”.

Lower house deputies had been closely watching developments. “We also urged officials and politicians from western countries not to support radical political forces in Ukraine that were and are striving for power,” Naryshkin said, adding that “support for Crimea is a priority for Duma deputies”.

Crimea’s parliament voted on Thursday to join the Russian Federation, which will be put to a referendum due on March 16.

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