Protests in Crimea
The Crimean Supreme Council presidium has backed the initiative for the Crimean referendum on the subject of enhancing the status and powers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to be rescheduled for Mar. 30, 2014, according to a resolution passed at its Monday session.
The Crimean Supreme Council's permanent commission for legislation, organization and public relations has been instructed to draft a Council resolution changing its earlier resolution, of Feb. 27, 2014, N1630-6/14b "On the organization and conduct of the republican (local) referendum on the questions of improving the status and powers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," to bring the referendum date forward from May 25 to Mar. 30.
Furthermore, the Crimean Council presidium has asked Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada not to create reasons for removing Crimean power and to refrain from steps which might escalate the current conflict.
"We are calling on Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which has assumed political responsibility for the situation in the country, to refrain from ill-considered actions which could lead to an escalation of the conflict. The war against its own people is the gravest of the crimes for which there can be no justification," said the statement passed during the presidium's Monday session, according to the Crimean Supreme Council spokesperson.
"We are extremely bewildered by the statements being heard from Kyiv that the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has overstepped the limits of the Ukrainian legal field, in particular, when making the decisions to hold a republican (local) referendum on the subject of enhancing the autonomous status and powers, and regarding changes in the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," the document said.
"We consider these statements to be part of a well-planned campaign to discredit the autonomous republic and its leaders. The aim of this campaign is to prepare the ground for the implementation of a forceful scenario in the Crimea and removing the Crimean authorities, whose legitimacy, unlike that of Ukraine, cannot be doubted," the statement said.
The Supreme Council of the Crimea insists that it has acted "strictly within the legal field."
In representing the interests of all the Crimeans, the Crimean parliament is responsible for ensuring the rights and freedoms of its people and therefore cannot remain an outside observer of the destructive processes occurring in the country, the presidium also said. "It is these circumstances that prompted members of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to pass a resolution on holding the republican (local) referendum as a form of direct people's rule on the subject of enhancing the autonomous status and powers. The question put to the referendum does not contain any provisions on the independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, its secession from Ukraine or its annexation to another state," the statement said.
"In doing so, we have called for the Crimean autonomous republic to be vested with broad powers which must be guaranteed under any changes in the central power and Ukrainian Constitution," the presidium said.