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Summary: situation in Crimea remains calm

March 04, 2014, 0:01 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
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SIMFEROPOL, March 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Despite hysteria in Ukraine’s central media, Crimea’s First Vice-Premier Rustam Temirgaliyev has described the situation in Crimea as calm. No armed conflicts have been registered in the autonomy’s territory, he said.

“Despite hysteria in Ukraine’s central media, the situation on the peninsula remains absolutely calm. No conflicts have flared up in Crimea over the past 24 hours. Crimea has preserved its inter-ethnic peace,” Temirgaliyev went on to say.

“Not a single armed conflict has been registered in Crimea. The ‘Crimean spring’ is kind and absolutely peaceful,” the first vice-premier added.

Meanwhile, a huge number of soldiers from Ukrainian garrisons blocked by Crimean self-defence forces in the north Crimean town of Feodosiya and the village of Perevalnoye near Simferopol have been coming over to the side of the Crimean autonomy.

Temirgaliyev noted that similar processes had been under way in the Feodosiya, Simferopol and Perevalninsky garrisons where a considerable number of servicemen had wished to join the self-defence forces on Monday.

“At the moment, servicemen have been quitting the Ukrainian army in huge numbers. Dozens of soldiers are ready to swear their allegiance to the people of Crimea. Today, we are welcoming the soldiers who are leaving the Ukrainian army. We are offering them to join Crimea’s people’s self-defence units instead,” Rustam Temirgaliyev went on to say.

A Crimean government source told Itar-Tass that the number of Ukrainian servicemen who took an oath and became loyal to the people of Crimea had gone up almost twice to exceed 3,000 people over the past 24 hours.

A number of Ukraine’s military leaders are expected to take the side of the Crimean authorities soon, including Ukrainian Navy commander Denis Berezovsky who has already sworn his allegiance to the people of Crimea.

In the meantime, it was just an ordinary day for the people of Simferopol who started their working week on Monday. Most of them went to work as usual. All the shops, services, public catering institutions, banks, cinemas, post offices, kindergartens and schools are operating normally.

The people in Crimea are discussing the latest news. They want stability and do not want to see the economic, political or military situation aggravate.

“We want to live as we used to live before without fearing for our families and be confident in our future. The summer season is coming, and we certainly do not want it to be disrupted. Both Russians and foreigners come to spend their vacation here in summer. Naturally, we do not want to lose tourists and suffer economic losses because of political chaos. We all want stability, peace and friendship,” a Crimean resident told Itar-Tass.

Crimean law enforcers are controlling all administrative and government buildings.

Crimea may switch over to Moscow time with agreement from its people. The question will be put to a referendum slated for May 30.

The initiative has come from Sergei Tsekov, the Crimean parliament’s vice-speaker, who said that the time used in Crimea was strange and hateful to the physiology of its people.

“Let us consider transition to the summer time which will coincide with the Moscow time,” Tsekov explained.

“If the people of Crimea support the initiative, we are going to implement it,” Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament, said.

A working group will be set up soon to study what people think about transition to the Moscow time.

At present, Moscow has a two hour time difference with Crimea.

Kamil Samigullin, the head of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Tatarstan, has paid an official visit to Crimea to meet representatives of Crimean Tatars. He urged them to find a peaceful settlement to the situation in the autonomy. Samigullin told his fellow-believers that negotiations were the only way to solve the Crimean crisis.

“We should always protect human lives and search for the solution of our differences only through peaceful and diplomatic means,” Samigullin went on to say.

Earlier in the day, the Crimean authorities said that their aim was to cooperate with the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar People. They offered several key posts in the Council of Ministers (government) and Crimea’s Supreme Council, including the posts of a vice-premier, two ministers and deputies in a number of ministries, to the Tatar community leaders.

In the meantime, Vladimir Konstantinov, the Crimean parliament speaker, said on Monday that the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, which has a special status under Ukraine’s Constitution and other laws, might become part of the Crimean Autonomy.

“The parliament is ready to consider the initiative of making Sevastopol part of the Crimean Autonomy. The initiative comes from the people of Sevastopol, in the first place, but I can assume that all residents of Crimea are going to voice their support for it,” Konstantinov said.

“Let the people of Sevastopol decide how they vision their future,” the speaker went on to say. A referendum on Crimea’s status will take place on March 30.

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