Friday, March 7, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Crimea parliament asks to join Russia

MPs in Crimea have asked Moscow to allow the southern Ukrainian region to become part of the Russian Federation.The parliament said if its request was granted, Crimean citizens could give their view in a referendum on 16 March.Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the move had no legal grounds.Crimea, a region whose population is mostly ethnic Russian, has been at the centre of tensions following the fall of Ukraine's pro-Moscow president.Pro-Russian and Russian forces have been in de facto control of the peninsula for several days. The announcement from Crimea's parliament comes as EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss how to respond to Russia's troop deployment on Ukrainian soil.
In other developments:
  • Armed men stop an OSCE team of unarmed military observers from entering Crimea
  • Washington says it is issuing visa restrictions on a number of Ukrainian and Russian officials and individuals "to deny visas to those responsible for, or complicit in, threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine"
  • US-based Russia Today presenter Liz Wahl resigns on air in protest at Moscow's involvement in Ukraine, two days after another RT presenter criticised Russia on her programme
  • The Ukrainian flag is again flying over the regional government in the eastern city of Donetsk after the removal of pro-Russia demonstrators and detention of their leader Pavel Gubarev - who was being interviewed by the BBC at the time
  • Armed men in Crimea seize TV transmitters, disconnecting Ukraine's 5 Kanal TV and One Plus One TV, and launch Russian Rossiya 24 TV broadcast
Russian paramilitaries outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevevalne, near the Crimean city of Simferopol