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Crimea PM: Simferopol shooting incident provocation

March 19, 2014, 23:19 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Aksyonov said the shots were made, according to investigators, from one point in two directions - on Crimean self-defense soldiers and on Ukrainian servicemen

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SIMFEROPOL, March 19, 22:36 /ITAR-TASS/. Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov on Wednesday called the recent shooting incident in the republic’s capital Simferopol a provocation.

“As a result of a provocation, two people died in Simferopol - a [Crimean] self-defense soldier and a serviceman of a Ukrainian military unit. Two others were wounded,” Aksyonov said.

“I express my sincere condolences to the near and dear of those killed,” the CrimeaInform news agency quoted him as saying.

Aksyonov said “the shots on the Crimean land sounded” on the day when the treaty on the accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status, to the Russian Federation was signed.

The Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, held a referendum on March 16, in which some 97 percent of the population voted for Crimea to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia. On Tuesday, Russia and Crimea signed in Moscow a treaty on Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation as a constituent member.

Aksyonov said the shots were made, according to investigators, from one point in two directions - on Crimean self-defense soldiers and on Ukrainian servicemen.

“Such provocative tactics of making conflicting sides clash was systematically used on Maidan [downtown Independence Square - the symbol of Ukrainian protests] in Kiev. Provocateurs want to blow up peace and accord in our home by similar methods,” he said.

“They want to use senseless human victims to bring the spirit of feud and fear to Crimea,” Aksyonov said. He emphasized that Crimea’s armed forces would guarantee peace and freedom to the republic’s residents.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich left Ukraine in February, citing security concerns, after violent protests that resulted in a coup in his country. He said on March 11 in south Russia that he remains the legitimate Ukrainian leader despite “an anti-constitutional seizure of power by armed radicals.” Russia considers Yanukovich the legitimate Ukrainian president.

Crimean Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya said Wednesday that the actions of a sniper that reportedly opened fire in the Crimean capital Simferopol on Tuesday were similar to those of snipers who earlier shot people on Maidan in Kiev, the CrimeaInform news agency reported.

A recently intercepted phone conversation between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton gave grounds to assume snipers who had shot at protesters and police in Kiev during recent riots could have been hired by radical Ukrainian protest leaders.

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