Monday, September 15th6.8°C
23373
22642

Crimea seeks to become independent

The Crimean parliament voted Tuesday that the Black Sea peninsula will declare itself an independent state if its residents agree to split off from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum.

Crimea's regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a "declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea." The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in favour of joining Russia in the referendum.

Western nations have said they will not recognize the vote as legitimate. But the move might be used as an attempt to ease tensions with Crimea existing as a self-proclaimed state without Russia moving quickly to incorporate it into its territory.

After a brief war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, some leaders in Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia also asked to join Russia, but their request was never granted.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's acting president on Tuesday called for the formation of a national guard and for the mobilization of reserves and volunteers into the country's armed forces.

Oleksandr Turchynov asked the national parliament to approve turning the country's Interior Ministry troops into a National Guard "to defend the country and citizens against any criminals, against external and internal aggression."

Turchynov said that the mobilization will include those who have previously served in the army and volunteers.

Russian forces have strengthened their control over Ukraine's Crimea region in the run-up to a referendum set for Sunday on whether to split off and become part of Russia.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who will fly to Washington to meet with Barack Obama on Wednesday, called on Western nations to defend Ukraine against a nation "that is armed to the teeth and that has nuclear weapons."

Meanwhile, Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, accused the country's new government of fomenting civil war.

Yatsenyuk asked Russia, the U.S. and European Union member Britain to abide by a treaty signed in 1994, in which they pledged to guarantee Ukraine's security in exchange for giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons.

"We are not asking for anything from anyone," Yatsenyuk told parliament. "We are asking for just one thing: military aggression has been used against our country. Those who guaranteed that this aggression will not take place, must from the one side pull out troops and from the other side must defend our independent, sovereign state."

Parliament was to vote later Wednesday on the motion on mobilization and the appeal to the West.

Yanukovych, speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, repeated the Russian claim that the new Ukrainian authorities are kowtowing to radical nationalists, and that they posed a threat to Russian-speaking eastern regions.

Yanukovych, who fled last month after months of protests, said he would soon return to Ukraine.

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated and approval times may vary. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more World News

23226


Recent Trending





22821

23126


23262



World Quick Links World Discussion Forum
United Nations
World Health Organization
UNESCO
World Trade Organization
NATO
European Union
The Commonwealth
Francophonie
Olympics
Google Earth


Member of BC Press Council


21343