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Crimean authorities to nationalise Ukrainian fleet, mineral producing facilities

SIMFEROPOL, March 10, /ITAR-TASS/. The authorities of Crimea (autonomy seeking independence from Ukraine) are planning to nationalise the Ukrainian fleet on the peninsula along with several state-owned mineral extraction facilities, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Monday, March 10.

“The Ukrainian fleet in Sevastopol will be nationalised in full. We are not going to let their ships out. We have also blocked the exit for Chernomorneftegaz [oil and gas producing company],” he said.

This is not the complete list of assets to be nationalised, he said. “We will also make decisions on solar power plants. They will be put on the books of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Aksyonov said.

He stressed, however, that nationalisation would not affect private property.

Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov said Sevastopol (the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet) would get a special status within Crimea.

He said the issue on the city’s special status had been included in the ballots for the referendum on the future of Crimea slated for March 16.

“If the residents of Sevastopol wish so, we will undoubtedly become one territory and Sevastopol will get a special status - a city with a special status as it has been for a long time,” the speaker said.

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.

The referendum will be held on March 16. The decision was adopted by 49 of 50 MPs present at the session.

Three questions will be asked during the referendum:

1. Do you support the City of Sevastopol’s joining the Russian Federation as its constituent member?

2. Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia as its constituent member?

3. 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?

City administration acting head Dmitry Belik said Sevastopol would join Russia as its constituent member after the referendum.

“We will hold one referendum with the rest of Crimea, but after it two entities will join Russia as its constituent members: Sevastopol and Crimea. And changes to the constitution will also be made separately,” he said.

Speaking at a rally held in the centre of the city on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, Belik stressed that social allowances would continue to be paid after accession to Russia. “The salaries of public sector employees, medic and social workers will be preserved at their current level as a minimum or maybe even increased. We are now working in close contact with Russian officials over a new social system for the city,” Belik said.

He thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian parliament for their support.

The Crimean parliament on March 6 ruled to hold a referendum on accession to Russia on March 16. Earlier it was scheduled for March 30.

The Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) said it would support Crimea’s decision to join Russia if its people vote so in the referendum.