WORLD

Crimea parliament declares independence from Ukraine ahead of referendum

Yanukovych denounces interim government, insists he’s the leader. John Kerry rejects Vladimir Putin talks. PM Yatsenyuk accused Russia of seeking to undermine the world security system.

The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has adopted an independence declaration from Ukraine which is necessary for holding a March 16 referendum, rt.com reports.
“We, the members of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council, with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms, make this decision,” says the text of the declaration, which was published by the Crimean media.
The document was adopted during an extraordinary session of parliament. 78 of 100 members of the parliament voted in favor of the declaration.
The Crimean parliament’s vote to become an independent sovereign state paves the way for the March 16 referendum for the Crimean Autonomous Republic and the city of Sevastopol to join Russia.
The US secretary of state has rejected a talks offer with Russian President Vladimir Putin until Moscow engages with US proposals on Ukraine’s crisis, the BBC informs. John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea had made any negotiations extremely difficult.
Russia said on Monday it was drafting counter-proposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the crisis, the BBC further reports.
Moscow has condemned Ukraine’s new Western-backed government as an unacceptable “fait accompli”. Meanwhile Russian forces have strengthened their control over Crimea.
In another development, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych blamed his opponents Tuesday for Crimea’s moves to break away from Ukraine and said he remains the country’s president and commander-in-chief, the Voice of America informs.
Yanukovych spoke from Rostov-on-Don, Russia in his second public appearance since he fled Kyiv last month following months of anti-government protests.
Denouncing Ukraine’s interim authorities as “extremists,” the ousted leader called the new government’s planned May 25 elections “illegitimate” and “illegal.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk accused Russia on Tuesday of seeking to undermine the world security system by its incursion into Crimea.
Yatsenyuk told parliament that Ukraine remained open for “transparent’’ negotiations with Russia to build a new relationship in which Moscow recognized Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.
U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House on Wednesday.
In Kyiv Monday, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt reiterated that Washington will not recognize the results of the Crimean referendum.

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