KIEV, February 27. /ITAR-TASS/. The Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has announced holding a referendum on the autonomy’s future, says the statement of the Crimean parliament’s presidium.
“People of the Crimea, as a result of unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists with support from armed bandit groups, peace in the Crimea is threatened,” said Oksana Korneychuk, press-secretary of the Chairman of Crimea’s parliament. “Yesterday’s clashes in front of the building of the Crimea’s parliament, which led to bloodshed and deaths, are a result of rampant political extremism and violence flooding the country. Ukraine is moving in the direction of utter chaos, anarchy and economic collapse. Under such circumstances, the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as a supreme representative authority, elected by the free will of the resident of the Crimea, assumes all responsibility for Crimea’s future.”
“In compliance with fundamental principles of democracy, the presidium of the Crimea’s parliament considers it the only possible way out of the current situation to apply the principles of direct rule of the people. We are confident that only holding a referendum on the autonomy’s status will help the resident of the Crimea determine the future of the region without external pressure,” the statement said.
Seizure of buildings
Ukraine's interim president and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov met with chiefs of power structures (defence, police and security) on Thursday to discuss the situation in Crimea. The parliament meeting was chaired by vice-speaker Ruslan Koshulynsky.
Earlier on Thursday, in an address to citizens, Turchynov called for remaining calm. Any attempt to seize buildings would be viewed as a crime against the Ukrainian state, he said.
The Ukrainian prosecutor general's office opened a criminal case on Thursday over "the seizure of the buildings of the parliament and the Council of Ministers in Crimea".
Crimea faces "many difficult historical problems" that only discussions can solve, state adviser to the republic of Tatarstan Mintimier Shaimiev told an extraordinary meeting of the State Council on Thursday.
“It is necessary to protect the interests of the great number of people living on the territory,” Shaimiev said, adding that everything should be done to prevent the conflict from spreading.
Political processes running to extremes would prevent a settlement of this pressing political situation, he said. "There are reasons for delegations of the [Russian] Federation Council and the State Duma to go to the Crimea. It is necessary to come to an agreement. You do not choose neighbors, you have to live with them,” Shaimiev said.