A referendum on the status of Crimea will be held March 16, the region’s deputy prime minister announced. Crimeans will be asked to decide if the autonomous republic stays part of Ukraine or joins Russia.
The new date is two weeks earlier than the one announced last week.
There will be two questions on the ballots.
“The first one: Are you in favor of Crimea becoming a constituent territory of the Russian Federation. The second one: Are you in favor of restoring Crimea’s 1992 constitution,” Temirgaliev said.
According to the 1992 constitution, the autonomous republic is part of Ukraine but has relations with Kiev, defined on the basis of mutual agreements.
Sevastopol residents will take part in the referendum, despite the city enjoying a special status and not officially being a part of Crimea, according to Sergey Shuvainikov, a Crimean MP.
“We will give Sevastopol an opportunity to have its say,” he said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile the Crimean MPs have unanimously voted for the region to become a part of Russia.
“To become part of the Russian Federation as its constituent territory,” says the text of the Crimean parliament’s statement, obtained by RIA Novosti.
When the decision was announced to the people outside the parliament building, they welcomed the news with cheers and screams of “Russia!”
The Crimean authorities have denounced the coup-imposed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them.
Crimeans began protesting after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official purposes in Ukraine.
More than half the Crimean population is Russian and uses only this language for their communication. The residents announced they are going to hold a referendum to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.