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Ukraine’s acting President Turchinov says referendum in Crimea ‘unlawful’

March 06, 2014, 21:55 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, March 06, /ITAR-TASS/. Parliament-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov said the upcoming referendum in Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) on its accession to Russia would be “unlawful and illegitimate.”

“The Verkhovna Rada will initiate the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet of Crimea,” he said in a televised address on Thursday, March 6.

He stressed that any change to the country’s border could be discussed only in a nationwide referendum and “a local Crimean referendum is impossible.”

Turchinov said he had stopped the Crimean parliament’s decision on the referendum. “By virtue of my powers I have stopped the decision of the Crimean parliament,” he said.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said the Crimean referendum would be unlawful as running counter to the Ukrainian Constitution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with him and said that the referendum in Crimea would be unlawful.

She made it clear that if Russia took further destabilising steps in Ukraine, the European Union would have to revise its relations with Moscow, which in turn may have economic consequences. “We do not want that,” she said.

French President Francois Hollande said the EU was imposing political sanctions against Russia but did not rule out economic ones.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the referendum in Crimea would be unlawful and described it as a step in the wrong direction.

He called for the speediest commencement of dialogue between Russia and Ukraine in order to resolve the crisis and warned that the EU would take further steps (meaning sanctions) if Moscow did not start a direct dialogue with Kiev.

The Crimean referendum is to take place on March 16. Earlier it was scheduled for March 30.

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