Russian State Duma ratifies federation treaty with Crimea
The State Duma has voted to ratify the acceptance of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as new parts of the Russian Federation, rt.com informs.
Of 446 lower house MPs 443 voted in favor of the treaty and one voted against it. There were no abstentions.
During the same session the State Duma passed the constitutional law detailing the conditions and order of accepting the two new subjects into the Russian Federation.
The federation treaty was submitted to the Lower House by President Putin on Wednesday after he signed it with leading Crimean and Sevastopol officials on Tuesday. The treaty has been provisionally in use since the signing and will come into force after ratification by the parliament.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented the draft to MPs and asked for ratification on behalf of the President. “The decision to accept the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation is based on the free expression of the will of the multi-ethnic people of Crimea made in the referendum on March 16 this year. This decision corresponds to international law including the principle of sovereign equality of the state and the people’s right for self-determination, fixed in the UN charter as one of the main objectives of this organization,” Lavrov told the State Duma.
The draft introduces a transitional period until January 1, 2015 during which Crimea and Sevastopol must be integrated into Russia’s economic, finance, credit and legal systems as well as into the system of state administration.
Ukraine’s navy commander released. Kiev will never stop fighting for Crimea, parliament says. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Moscow. President Barack Obama ruled out military involvement in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Russia will face escalating EU sanctions if it does not take steps to ease the crisis over Crimea, the BBC reports.
Mrs Merkel, speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, said the current political situation also meant the G8 effectively no longer existed.
Tensions remain high in Crimea after its leaders signed a deal with Moscow to split from Ukraine and join Russia.
Pro-Russian forces took over at least two military bases there on Wednesday. Ukraine’s navy commander, Serhiy Hayduk was detained, but has now been released.
In a resolution on Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament said the country would “never and under no circumstances end the fight to free Crimea of occupants, no matter how difficult and long it is”.
Western leaders have denounced Russia’s actions in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and a breach of international law.
The EU has already imposed sanctions on 21 people connected to Moscow’s intervention in Crimea, and is expected to discuss expanding the sanctions when it meets on Thursday to include political and military figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said the EU would “make clear that we are ready at any time” to increase sanctions against Russia “if there is a worsening of the situation”.
The EU would also, she said, “draw consequences for political relations between the EU and Russia, as well as for relations between the G7 and Russia”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was to meet President Putin in Moscow on Thursday before travelling to Kiev on Friday.
Russia has reportedly taken control of a confectionery factory in Lipetsk, Russia, owed by Ukrainian tycoon Petro Poroshenko. He was a key supporter of the protests against President Viktor Yanukovych.
President Barack Obama ruled out military involvement in Ukraine, saying the US “do not need to trigger an actual war”.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Yurii Klymenko, told diplomats in Geneva there are “indications that Russia is on its way to unleash a full blown military intervention in Ukraine’s east and south”. Russia dismissed the warning.
Kiev will never stop fighting for Crimea, Ukraine’s parliament said Thursday as European Union leaders prepared to hold critical talks on how to respond to Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, CNN informs. In a declaration that comes days after Moscow claimed the autonomous region as its own, the Kiev parliament said “Crimea was, is and will be part of Ukraine.”