Friday, 21 March 2014

Crimea, Sevastopol officially join Russia as Putin signs final decree


The upper chamber of the Russian parliament has ratified an international treaty with Crimea, which accepts the former Ukrainian region as a new part of Russia. 155 senators present at the meeting voted unanimously.

They also passed a bill amending the Russian constitution to allow for the addition of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the list of administrative parts of the Russian Federation.

The expected move comes a day after members of the lower chamber passed the two documents, with only one MP voting against.

The treaty and the bill were submitted for the approval of Russian lawmakers on Tuesday by President Vladimir Putin, following last week’s referendum in Crimea, which showed the overwhelming support of the peninsula’s residents for joining Russia.

The Russian senators also requested the United States to add them to their sanction lists. The statement to that effect brands the American move and a similar measure by the EU “an unprecedented move of political blackmail.”

“We are ready for the entire corps of the Federation Council, all senators to joint that sanction list,”Speaker Valentina Matvienko said. She personally is already targeted by the US sanctions.

The senators’ request follows a similar move by members of the lower parliamentary chamber.

The statement also says that senators are baffled by the fact that Washington and Brussels treat an armed coup in Ukraine as a legitimate act of the people while consider a free referendum in Crimea illegal.

“It’s time not for imposing sanctions, but to act urgently and offer targeted help to the Ukrainian people, so that Ukraine did not fall further into political and economic abyss, preserved as a civilized European nation” the senators said.

The statement expresses hope that “common sense eventually prevails and together with the Ukrainian people a path to political resolution of the Ukrainian situation based on Russia’s proposals is found.”


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