Security High Ahead of Crimea Referendum
Security measures have been increased in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, ahead of Sunday’s referendum on the future of the autonomous region.
Special police forces, Berkut, have been deployed across major Crimean cities to patrol the streets.
Sunday’s referendum will ask Crimeans whether they want to become a part of the Russian Federation or remain an autonomous part of Ukraine. The outcome is likely to be one in favor of breaking from Kiev, due to the ethnic majority of Russians in Crimea.
‘‘It feels as if everything is boiling inside me. My heart is beating hard for Russia, because Russia is a proud word. Russia!’‘, a woman told Euronews.
Meanwhile, local minority Tatars could boycott the referendum, since it is not internationally recognized.
“We don’t want to live under Russian rule, we want to live in Ukraine. Ukraine is a democratic state. There is no democracy in Russia. We want to live freely. We don’t want to be slaves”, a Tatar man commented.
The official position of Moscow is that they would support the will of the Crimean people, while the West has threatened with sanctions if Ukraine’s territorial integrity is violated.
Tensions between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators have been escalating in past days, with bloody clashes in Donetsk and Kharkiv.