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Putin to make statement on Crimea’s, Sevastopol’s application for joining Russia

March 18, 2014, 5:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday will make a statement following requests from the Republic Crimea and the city of Sevastopol for admission to the Russian Federation. According to the presidential press-service, the members of the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, heads of Russia’s constituent regions and civil society representatives have been invited to the Kremlin for the ceremony by 15:00 Moscow time.

Crimea last Sunday held a referendum on its future. As many as 96.77 percent of those who took part in the voting came out for reunification with Russia. On Monday, Crimea’s legislature proclaimed the peninsula an independent state and addressed Russia with a request for admitting it into the federation as a constituent territory having the status of a republic. The city council of the city of Sevastopol also adopted a resolution in favour of joining Russia as a separate member of the federation - a city of federal importance.

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told the media on Monday the president would express his attitude to the requests from Crimea and Sevastopol for accession to Russia and to the just-held referendum.

The speaker of the lower house earlier explained the rules of admitting the federation’s new members.

“There are several steps. First, a foreign country addresses Russia with a request for joining the federation and on concluding a corresponding inter-state treaty. The president shall inform the Federation Council, the State Duma and the government of this motion and hold consultations, if necessary. After the signing of the inter-state treaty the president asks the Constitutional Court for a verdict whether the inter-state treaty agrees with the Russian Constitution.”

If the Constitutional Court’s opinion is positive, the draft of the inter-state treaty and the draft federal constitutional law, which determines the name of the new member of the Russian Federation, its status and its borders as well as transitional provisions, are handed over to the State Duma, Naryshkin explained.

“The draft of the inter-state treaty is presented for ratification, and the draft constitutional law, for adoption,” he said.

“If both documents are adopted, Article 65 of the Constitution is amended accordingly,” Naryshkin said. The article in question contains a list of Russia’s constituent territories.

“In such cases an amendment is made - the article is complemented with the name of one or several new members of the Russian Federation,” Naryshkin said, adding that in considering the Crimean issue the State Duma would cope with its task promptly and with responsibility.

At present Russia has 83 constituent territories.

As he answered media questions on March 4, Putin said that Russia had no intention of initiating reunification with Crimea.

“The people alone can and must decide their future in a situation of security and free expression of will,” he said.

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