Ukraine says ‘will not give up Crimea’

Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia has said Kiev “will not give up Crimea,” amid the prospect of the region’s separation from the country.

The comments made on Saturday echoed those passed earlier by the new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Yatsenyuk has said the Crimea region must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers.

The prime minister has said that he was in favor of establishing a special task force to “consider what kind of additional autonomy the Crimean Republic could get.”

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Ukrainian government was taking orders from extremists. Lavrov also denied allegations that Moscow had any direct role in the crisis in Crimea.

“The interim government… is not independent. It depends, unfortunately, on radical nationalists who carried out an armed coup,” Lavrov told a news conference in the Russian capital, Moscow.

On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Viktor Yanukovych and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s newly-elected speaker, as interim president.

The ouster followed weeks of unrest that was triggered after Yanukovych refrained from signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia in November 2013.

Local administration of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region has called for a referendum on March 16 in order to decide whether the region should join Russia. Russian parliament has issued the green-light to President Vladimir Putin to use military forces “to protect Russia’s interests in Crimea.”

By Press TV


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