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Crimea to go ahead with the March 16 referendum despite obstacles created by authorities

March 09, 2014, 22:33 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
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SIMFEROPOL, March 09, 20:47 /ITAR-TASS/. The Crimean authorities have said they have enough funds to finance the forthcoming referendum on the autonomy’s status on a full scale.

“The estimate is being clarified. The money has been included in the budget. I am not going to give you the exact sum but I am absolutely sure that it will be enough,” Vladimir Konstantinov, the Crimean parliament speaker, said on Sunday, adding Crimea would go ahead with the March 16 referendum despite that fact that the interim authorities in Kiev had blocked the accounts of the Crimean Treasury.

“We have our own finances, our won budget and taxes, which will be enough (to finance the referendum). We are actively receiving help from Russian regions. The money is coming, and we have no problems,” Konstantinov explained.

The Crimean parliament speaker also hopes that Crimea will remain a parliamentary republic if it becomes part of Russia.

“This parliamentary republic is hard won. So we would like Crimea to preserve this parliamentary status if it joins Russia,” Konstantinov told journalists on Sunday.

He added that the president’s office was currently operating in Crimea. “We hope to preserve it too,” Konstantinov said, noting that all state institutions - the state border service, the army, the fleet and the security service - would report to Russia in case Crimea became its integral part.

A referendum on Crimea’s future status will take place on March 16, two weeks earlier than initially planned.

The Crimean referendum and the complicated socio-political situation in Ukraine were the central themes of President Vladimir Putin’s telephone conversations with British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier on Sunday.

The Russian president defended the actions of the legitimate authorities in Crimea who were taking steps to ensure the lawful interests of Crimea’s population in full compliance with international law.

“The Russian president also called his interlocutors’ attention to the fact that the current authorities in Kiev were doing nothing to curb the rampage of ultra-nationalist and radical forces in the Ukrainian capital and in many other regions,” the Kremlin press service reported on Sunday.

“Despite the existing differences in the assessment of what’s going on, the sides expressed common interest in the de-escalation of tensions and the earliest normalization of the situation on the peninsula,” the Kremlin press service went on to say.

The Russian, British and German leaders discussed possible international efforts which could be exerted to settle the crisis and agreed to continue close working contacts, including at the level of foreign ministers, the Kremlin press service emphasized.

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