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UNITED NMTIONS, March 15, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia could not support the U.S. draft resolution on Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) because it is at odds with the right of people to self-determination enshrined in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Saturday, March 15.
“We cannot agree with its underlying message that the referendum slated for March 16, during which the residents of the Republic of Crimea should determine their own future, will have no legal force. This reasoning by the authors of the text runs counter to one of the basic principles of international law - the principle of equality and self-determination of people set out in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter,” Churkin said after the vote in the Security Council.
He noted that this principle was “reaffirmed in the U.N. Declaration on Principles of International Law of 1970 and several other decisions of the U.N. General Assembly, and in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.”
Russia vetoed the draft resolution. The draft proposed by the United States was supported by 13 member states attending the U.N. Security Council’s meeting on Saturday, March 15, with one abstention - China.
The latest version of the resolution proposed by the United States says that Ukraine has not authorised a referendum on the status of Crimea and therefore it cannot be considered lawful or serve as the basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. The document also urges all countries, international organisations and specialised agencies not to recognise the results of the plebiscite in Crimea.
Churkin said prior to the vote that Russia would block the resolution and stressed that Moscow was not questioning the principle of territorial integrity of states. However he recalled that “before 1954 Crimea was a part of Russia” and had been handed over to Ukraine “in violation of law and without taking into account the opinion of the people of Crimea.”
The referendum will be held on March 16. The decision was adopted by 49 of 50 MPs present at an urgent session of the Crimean parliament on February 27.
Two questions will be asked during the referendum:
1. Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia as its constituent member?
2. Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?
The ballots in Sevastopol will also include a question on its accession to Crimea as a city with a special status, he added.
Sevastopol’s City Council ruled on March 6, to hold a referendum on the city’s accession to Russia.