Crimea declares independence, seeks UN recognition

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MOSCOW: The Republic of Crimea has addressed the UN seeking recognition as a sovereign state and called on Russia to integrate it into the Russian Federation. 96.77 percent of the Crimean population voted ‘for’ the integration in a referendum.

“The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states,” the legislation says.

Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament’s website stated. The Supreme Council of Crimea unanimously voted to integrate of the region into Russia.

Ukrainian military units on Crimean territory are to be disbanded, with the military personnel allowed to stay and live on the peninsula, Interfax reported Crimean Supreme Council chairman Vladimir Konstantinov as saying.

“Those who, according to their beliefs, don’t accept the Crimean independence and stay true to the Ukrainian state won’t be persecuted,” the head of Crimea’s parliament Vladimir Konstantinov said, as quoted by ITAR-TASS. He added that the same principle will apply to government employees and security workers who took the oath of allegiance to Ukraine.

His comments came after more than 500 troops left Sevastopol to register at temporary checkpoints.

The Crimean Parliament also ruled that Ukrainian state property in the peninsula will become the property of the Republic of Crimea, Kryminform news agency reported.

The Crimean Parliament will remain the supreme legislative body of the republic until September 2015, or until a decision is made to integrate Crimea into the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s coup-imposed President Aleksandr Turchinov called the referendum “a great farce,” saying it will never be recognized either by Ukraine or by the civilized world,” AFP reported.

It’s after the announcement of the official results: 96.77 percent of the Crimean population has voted ‘for’ integration of the region into the Russian Federation. The turnout was 83.1 per cent.

The referendum saw a massive turnout, with 81.3 percent of the eligible voting population participating, the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev, said.

There were 1,233,002 votes ‘for’ integration, with the total number of those who voted standing at 1,274,096 people.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov told Interfax. The dual currency is to be established in about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the premier said. However, it wants to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

Russia set to pass law to embrace Crimea

The Russian parliament is set to pass legislation that allows Crimea to join Russia in the near future, as final results from a referendum show nearly 97 percent of Crimeans having voted in favor of breaking away from Ukraine.

Sergei Neverov, the vice-speaker of the Russian State Duma, made the announcement on Monday, as the results showed that the Crimeans have voted overwhelmingly in favor of seceding from Ukraine to join the Russian Federation.

Neverov added that the outcome of the referendum “vividly demonstrated” that the residents of Crimea “see their future exclusively within Russia.”

“The high voter turnout and the vast support for Crimea’s accession to Russia speak for themselves. This is the answer to those who have been recently trying to obstruct Crimean residents’ decision on their fate, their future and the future of their children,” said Neverov.

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