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Former Ukrainian lawmaker says Kiev pushed away Crimea and Donbas

August 03, 2015, 13:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Former Ukrainian lawmaker Vladimir Oleinik recalled Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's visit to Crimea ahead of the referendum

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Former Ukrainian lawmaker Vladimir Oleinik

Former Ukrainian lawmaker Vladimir Oleinik

© TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Verkovna Rada former deputy Vladimir Oleinik, who was nominated for president by Ukraine Salvation Committee, has said Monday that current authorities are to blame for losing Crimea.

"Unfortunately, we lost Crimea because of criminal authorities that ignited ethnic strife and pushed away Crimea and Ukraine’s south-east by staging a coup," Oleinik told a press conference in Moscow.

‘When Crimea saw that there is war at the doorstep, it left Ukraine. You don’t remember how [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko came before the referendum, how Crimeans pushed him out from the peninsula," Oleinik said promising that he will make everything possible so that "Crimeans feel comfortable in Ukraine, and Ukrainians - in Crimea."

He also called on Kiev to "remove restrictions on water and electricity."

Crimea’s reunification with Russia

Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014. In mid-March last year, Crimea re-joined Russia following a referendum. More than 82% of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96% backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia. Results of the referendum were celebrated by many Crimeans but the vote was widely criticized by Western leaders and at the United Nations.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean region, along with Sevastopol, to Ukraine's jurisdiction for purposes of logistics.

Direct negotiations between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk necessary

Oleinik, who was nominated for president by Ukraine Salvation Committee, also noted that the problem in Donbas cannot be solved without direct negotiations between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk.

"If you ask me how I would have acted right after inauguration - I would have immediately signed a decree on returning forces to places of their permanent deployment. I would have gone to Donetsk and Luрansk, where people are suffering, and asked for forgiveness on my knees from all Ukrainian mothers," Oleinik told a press conference in Moscow. "Direct negotiations between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk are necessary," he said adding that "it is necessary to make any kind of compromise" for peace.

"For instance, one language and two countries is bad, while two languages and one country is good. And talking about federalization, it is not that bad, it’s just a system of government," Oleinik noted.

He called on Ukrainian citizens not to participate in the military operation in Donbas. "Don’t let your children go to war!" he stressed. Oleinik said that Ukraine’s military recruiting offices "have turned into terrorist organizations" that take to the army all those who disagree with the current authorities. "Conscripts are running away in Ukraine today," he reminded.

Vladimir Oleinik is a Ukrainian politician, famous lawyer, Verkhovna Rada deputy of 5th, 6th and 7th convocations. He was born in 1957 in Ukraine’s Cherkassy Region.

In 2006, he was elected to the parliament from Yulya Tymoshenko’s Bloc. Since March 2010, he had been member of the Party of Regions and served as deputy chairman of Rada’a committee on industrial and regulatory policy and entrepreneurship.

In December 2014, Ukraine’s General Prosecutor’s Office charged Oleinik was organizing illegal voting in the parliament for "16 January laws" - a package of measures toughening penalties for various offenses. He was put on Ukraine’s wanted list.

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