Tag Archives: RIA Novosti

Breaking news – About 93% of Crimeans who took part in referendum voted to join Russia – exit poll

About 93% of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining the Russian federation and only 7% of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to first exit polls.

Polling stations closed in Crimea after the referendum where residents were to decide on the future status of the region.

“The results of the referendum exit polls in Crimea and Sevastopol: 93 % voted for the reunion of Crimea with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. 7% voted for the restoration of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Crimea and Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine,” the Crimean republican institute for political and social researches said in a statement as cited by RIA Novosti.

A child holds the ballot of his mother during the referendum on the status of Ukraine's Crimea region at a polling station in Bakhchisaray March 16, 2014

A child holds the ballot of his mother during the referendum on the status of Ukraine’s Crimea region at a polling station in Bakhchisaray March 16, 2014

In Sevastopol, about 85% of voters cast their ballots by 1600 GMT, two hours before the polling stations closed, according to the chair of the city’s election commission Valery Medvedev.

The overall voter turnout in Crimea constituted over 80%, reports local news agency Kryminnform. In Sevastopol, about 85% of voters cast their ballots by 1600 GMT, two hours before the polling stations closed, according to the chair of the city’s election commission Valery Medvedev.

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Over a half of the Tatars living in the port city took part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining Russia, reports Itar-Tass citing a representative of the Tatar community Lenur Usmanov.

The preliminary results of the popular vote in Sevastopol are expected to be announced at 2030 GMT during a meeting in the center of the city that hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

In Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 have gathered to celebrate the referendum in central Lenin square and people reportedly keep arriving. Demonstrators, waving Russian and Crimean flags, are watching a live concert and awaiting the announcement of preliminary results of the voting.

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International observers are planning to present their final declaration on the Crimean referendum on March 17, the head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateush Piskorski told journalists. He added that the voting was held in line with international norms and standards.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Aksyonov told Interfax. In his words, the dual currency will be in place for about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the Prime Minister said, adding that it could be done faster. However, they want to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

Moscow is closely monitoring the vote count in Crimea, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin.

The results of the referendum will be considered once they are drawn up,” he told Itar-Tass.

The decision to hold a referendum was made after the bloody uprising in Kiev which ousted President Vladimir Yanukovich from power. Crimea – which is home to an ethnic Russian majority population – refused to recognize the coup-appointed government as legitimate. Crimeans feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect rights. Crimeans were particularly unhappy over parliament’s decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages – including Russian – as official along with the Ukrainian tongue. Crimeans staged mass anti-Maidan protests and asked Russia to protect them.

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Breaking news – 95% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia – preliminary results

 

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Preparations for joining Russia already underway – Crimean PM

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said Monday that preparations for the southern Ukrainian region to become part of Russia are already underway.

A referendum to decide whether the region will become part of Russia will take place on March 16.

The peninsula will be ready to begin using Russian law within a couple of months of a pro-secession vote, and the local Finance Ministry is already working on a roadmap for switching from the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, to the Russian ruble, Aksyonov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

The referendum in Crimea, where ethnic Russians make up about 60 percent of the population, is widely expected to return a favourable result that will pave the way for annexation by Moscow.

Aksyonov also promised that Ukrainian would cease to be an official language if Crimea joined Russia.

“We use two languages on a daily basis a?? Russian and Crimean Tatar,” Aksyonov said. “It’s certain that the republic [of Crimea] will have two languages.”

About 15 percent of Crimea’s population of about 2 million people are ethnic Tatars, among whom support for the incoming regime in Kiev is reportedly strong.

Aksyonov has also promised senior political positions in a new Crimean government to members of the Tatar community.

Formerly the leader of a local pro-Russian political party, Aksyonov was appointed prime minister last month by a vote in the Crimean parliament.

The planned referendum has been brought forward twice from its original date of May 25 since it was announced by local lawmakers last month.

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Man-portable air defense systems could be stolen in Ukraine amid turmoil

Mobile missile set 9K38 Igla operator engaged in tactical training exercises

Highly dangerous type of weaponry – man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs) – have gone missing from two Ukrainian military units, according to a high-ranking official in Kiev.

Several, and maybe even several dozen 9K38 Igla (Needle) air defense systems (SA-18 Grouse in NATO’s classification) have been stolen, a Ukrainian military official, who wished to remain anonymous, told RIA Novosti.

The shortage was, according to him, registered in Ukraine’s 80th airmobile regiment, which had 54 MANPADs, and the 27th airmobile brigade, stationed 45 km away from Lvov, which possessed 90 Iglas.

The new leadership of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is, according to the RIA source, taking measures to “camouflage the grave situation” by adding old and experimental items of the weapon to the stockpile.

The Igla MANPADs are designed to strike down low-flying targets. Their distribution is regulated by a number of international agreements since it’s highly undesirable that this type of weapon gets into the hands of terrorists. Russia and the US have an agreement on MANPADs’ distribution.

A large number of such weaponry was reported stolen from a military base in Benghazi, Libya in 2012, following the coup, which saw Muammar Gaddafi overthrown and killed.

There later appeared reports that Libyan MANPADs could have been obtained by insurgents, fighting against Assad in Syria.

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Breaking News | CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT UNANIMOUSLY VOTES IN FAVOUR OF BECOMING PART OF RUSSIA

Ukraine or Russia?’ Crimea referendum set for March 16

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 referendum will take place March 16,” said the autonomous region’s First Deputy-Premier Rustam Temirgaliev, according to ITAR-TASS.

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.

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Russia fires intercontinental ballistic missile in scheduled test

Russian RS 12 M Topol

The Russian military has successfully performed a scheduled test launch of the RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, the country’s Defense Ministry said.

The launch of the intercontinental three-stage ballistic missile (ICBM) was carried out from Kapustin Yar testing ground in the Astrakhan region. The dummy warhead hit its target at a test ground in Kazakhstan, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told RIA Novosti.

“The aim was to test an advanced battle equipment for the intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the ministry stated.

Russia informed the United States ahead of the ICBM test – and even before the latest Russian military moves in Crimea – a US official told Reuters.

The White House confirmed that the launch was “routine” and that the United States had advanced notice. Such prior notification is required under the nuclear arms treaty between the two nations.

Since 2007, Topol has been repeatedly tested in order to allow for the extension of its current service life, which was recently extended to 25 years. Its initial service life was only 10 years.

In 1998, RS-12M Topol became the first Soviet mobile ICBM to be successfully entered into service.

Defense Ministry stressed that Kapustin Yar range is “a unique” facility for testing battle equipment for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

RS-12M Topol ballistic missile

RS-12M Topol ballistic missile

“Only it provided the test routes and the polygon measuring complex, which allows testing [of] advanced battle equipment capable of bypassing the anti-missile systems, including those with advanced configuration,” the ministry said.

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Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol : sources

About 10 Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet ships have left the naval base in Sevastopol, with several vessels now heading to Odessa, administrative sources have said. The ships left the base voluntarily but some of them broke down and returned, they claimed.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Over the last 24 hours, “about 10 [war]ships and vessels of the Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet have left the Sevastopol base,” a source in the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea told Interfax on Sunday.

“Naturally, no one has compelled them to do so,” the government source added.

The administration of the Crimean autonomy has nothing to do with the moves of the Ukrainian ships, an administrative source also told RIA Novosti.

Several vessels have since returned to the base in Sevastopol “because of malfunctions,” the source said.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian troops were due to swear allegiance to the Crimean authorities in Sevastopol at 5pm local time (15:00 GMT). An unnamed official source earlier told RIA Novosti that “the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea” have passed to the side of the region. The transition was made “without a single shot fired,” the source said.

Ukrainian state agencies have been categorically denying both the claims of Ukrainian soldiers switching sides en masse and, earlier, reports of warships leaving Sevastopol.

However, the governor of southern Ukrainian Odessa Region told local media that several Ukrainian ships are sailing to the city of Odessa and it is being decided where they will dock.

A Russian media report on Saturday claimed that Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate has refused to follow orders from Kiev, came over to Russia’s side and was returning home from the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag. Various Ukrainian media denied the report as “false” and “propaganda,” but gave only a Facebook statement of a former Navy officer turned journalist in support of the rebuttal.

This comes as the newly appointed Navy Chief rear admiral Denis Berezovsky has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea, according to RIA Novosti.

“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations,” Berezovsky said.

Hours after the announcement, the self-proclaimed government in Kiev dismissed the Navy Chief and launched a treason case against him.

Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol: sources — RT News.

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Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources

The majority of resigned Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have switched to the side of local authorities and are expected to take military oath soon, Russian news agencies report.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Earlier, Ukrainian troops in Crimea were said to be resigning on a massive scale. Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called ‘self-defense forces.’

Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.

Since Thursday, the city’s Supreme Council and a number of other buildings have been occupied and guarded by the self-defense forces run by the local population.

Crimea’s deputy prime minister, Rustam Temirgaliev, announced earlier that the Ukrainian armed forces have all but surrendered their military capabilities and that no active units remain in the Crimea.

“The entire Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the Crimean territory have been blocked – a number have been disarmed, while another big portion is switching to the Crimean side,” Interfax reported him as saying.

“The self-defense forces have taken control of the landing strips of all the Crimean airports and airfields,” Temirgaliev added.

The deputy PM said that that the region’s security services and emergency services now report to the local government, while self-defense forces control all the runways at Crimea’s airports and airfields.

The local government, Temirgaliev went on, will promise the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority a place in Crimea’s Supreme Council, adding that funding for programs of resettlement and reintegration of those deported during the Stalin era will be plentiful. The Crimean Tatars have been supporting the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

via Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources — RT News.

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Breaking news – Ukrainian military resigning en masse in Crimea – reports

Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have started resigning on a massive scale, Russia news agencies reported.

Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called ‘self-defense forces.’

Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.

Since Thursday, the city’s Supreme Council and a number of other buildings have been occupied and guarded by the self-defense forces run by the local population.

Crimea’s deputy prime minister, Rustam Temirgaliev, announced earlier that the Ukrainian armed forces have all but surrendered their military capabilities and that no active units remain in the Crimea.

“The entire Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the Crimean territory have been blocked – a number have been disarmed, while another big portion is switching to the Crimean side,” Interfax reported him as saying.

“The self-defense forces have taken control of the landing strips of all the Crimean airports and airfields,” Temirgaliev added.

 

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9 dead as Russian transport plane crashes in Siberia

A Russian An-12 cargo plane has crashed near the Siberian city of Irkutsk. None of the nine people onboard survived the crash, the Emergencies Ministry said.

Rescue workers were working at the scene of the crash, recovering bodies from the wreck of the plane, an Emergencies Ministry spokesman in the region has said. The ministry has also raised the number of people who were on board the An-12 to nine, according to Itar-Tass, saying that three people had accompanied the crew of six.

Six of the nine bodies of the crash victims have been reportedly recovered. None of the flight data recorders have yet been found, a law enforcement source has said.

The plane was being relocated from an aircraft factory in Novosibirsk to another such plant near Irkutsk, an aviation source said, following initial reports of the crash.

The An-12 was not transporting any passengers or cargo, the source added, saying that the plane was used for “experimental aviation”.

“The An-12 came in for landing at low altitude and grazed military depot buildings 10 kilometers away from the landing strip, after which it crashed,” a law enforcement source told the agency.

The spilled fuel from the plane caused a fire, but the blaze was promptly brought under control by the firemen, according to an RIA Novosti source in law enforcement.

No casualties were reported at the military depot, where the plane crashed.

The crashed An-12 had been routinely used for transporting aircraft replacement parts between the Irkutsk aircraft repair plant and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO), according to a NAPO source quoted by Itar-Tass. The cargo plane crashed during landing at the Irkutsk plant airfield, an air traffic control source told the agency.

Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry has already launched an investigation into the accident, a ministry source told Interfax.

The Antonov An-12 type aircraft first entered service in the Soviet Union in 1966. The plane is capable of carrying up to 20 tons of cargo and can accommodate up to 14 passengers between the flight deck and the cargo bay.

The plane’s production stopped in 1973 after the Soviet Union produced over 850 civilian and military models, and exported hundreds.

The An-12 is now regarded as outdated and the Russian Air Force is seeking a replacement.

9 dead as Russian transport plane crashes in Siberia — RT News.

Russia sending defense, foreign ministers to Egypt,wednesday

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Moscow (AFP) – Russia’s foreign and defence ministers will travel to Cairo next week for joint talks with their Egyptian counterparts about weapons sales and political relations, a Russian official said on Friday.

Moscow’s foreign ministry spokesman said the “2+2” talks will be held on Wednesday and Thursday and for the first time involve both Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“The visit and discussion in such a format will be conducted for the first time in the history of our friendly relations (with Egypt),” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

Lukashevich said the discussion will touch on “military and technical cooperation” — a Russian euphemism for arms sales — as well as political and economic ties.

An official at Russia’s Rosoboronexport state weapons exporter said Moscow was ready to foster its “traditional (military) ties” with Cairo.

“We are ready to conduct negotiations with the Egyptians about the possibility of both supplying new military equipment, and repairing equipment supplied in Soviet times,” an unnamed Rosoboronexport told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia has had complicated but sometimes close relations with Egypt that included Soviet-era support for the deposed ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

Moscow has also said little about this year’s ouster of Islamist-backed president Mohamed Morsi.

But Egypt’s Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has said that Cairo may look to Moscow for weapons after having some its military aid suspended by Washington over its crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Russia sending foreign, defence chiefs to Egypt – Yahoo News.