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MOSCOW, March 04. /ITAR-TASS/. A senior Russian lawmaker called for giving Crimea the opportunity of self-determination.
"As any Russian citizen, I am very concerned about the situation in Ukraine," First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament Alexander Zhukov said on First Channel's Pozner program. "I have no idea how the situation will develop, but very much hope that it will resolve peacefully."
Zhukov expressed hope that "Ukrainian authorities will not try to use force, for which they denounced [ousted President Viktor] Yanukovich and the Berkut riot police and that Crimea will be able to hold an unhindered referendum."
"I do not know what decision they will make; whether it will be an autonomy or how much autonomy they will have; it is up to the residents to decide. I very much hope that it will not result in armed clashes between the Kiev authorities whose legitimacy is doubtful and Crimean residents," the deputy speaker said.
He believes that Russia should take "a firm position." "It is not about military interference, but about nobody's interfering. Crimea should be given the opportunity of self-determination," Zhukov said.