Crimea Part of Russia, Says Regional Deputy PM

World | March 6, 2014, Thursday // 16:44
Bulgaria: Crimea Part of Russia, Says Regional Deputy PM Statue of Lenin in Simferopol, Ukraine. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A decree making Crimea part of the Russian Federation was voted in the regional Parliament on Thursday.

Russian armed forces are "the only lawful armed force on the territory", Crimea Deputy PM Rustam Termigaliev was reported as saying.

Tensions in Crimea have reached a peak as the MPs of its autonomous regional parliament voted on Thursday in favour of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

A referendum on independence from Kiev, which was to be held March 30, was rescheduled for March 16.

On the peninsula, gunmen are also reported to have prevented a team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from entering Crimean territory to begin a previously announced monitoring mission.

In the Russian capital Moscow, MPs are already debating the bill introduced earlier that allowed for new territories to easily become part of the Federation, as RIA Novosti agency and website Lenta.ru have reported.

The draft text envisages that new territories can join Russia if their people approve this step through a referendum and if Russian Parliament agrees to accept them.

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Tags: Crimea, Russian Federation, OSCE, Moscow, Ukraine
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