Lukashenko and Putin say Ukrainian situation must meet people's interest
"The presidents pondered the Ukrainian situation and agreed that the situation must develop in a way that would meet the interest of the Ukrainian people and all other residents of Ukraine," it said.
According to the press service, the chiefs of state also discussed the Russian economic and currency market status. "Vladimir Putin underscored the absence of any catastrophic phenomena; he said the situation was natural and Russia had sufficient resources to maintain stability of its economy," the press service said.
"Alexander Lukashenko informed his colleague about the election of local councils of deputies due on March 23 and said Belarus was prepared to hold [the election] on a high level," it added.
More than 80 Russian cultural figures have signed a letter in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position on Ukraine and Crimea, the website of Russia’s Ministry of Culture reports.
"In the days, when the fate of Crimea and our compatriots is being decided, Russian cultural figures cannot be indifferent observers with cold hearts. Our common history and common roots, our culture and its spiritual sources, our fundamental values and language brought us together forever. We want the community of our peoples and our cultures to have a lasting future. That is why we firmly declare our support of the position of the President of the Russian Federation on Ukraine and Crimea," the message reads.
The letter was signed by the President of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Irina Antonova, Director of the State Literary Museum Dmitry Bak, people's artists of Russia Sergey Bezrukov, Vasily Lanovoy, Yuri Bashmet, Mikhail Boyarsky, Oleg Gazmanov, Sergei Govorukhin and Lev Leshchenko. The letter was also signed by film directors Fedor Bondarchuk, Pavel Lungin and Alexey Uchitel, Artistic Director of the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre Oleg Tabakov, General Director of Mosfilm Studios Karen Shakhnazarov, President of the Russian Academy of Arts Zurab Tsereteli, ballet dancer Nikolay Tsiskaridze.
The United States should think about the consequences of "financially pumping" radical elements in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "Apparently, the US administration will continue turning a blind eye to the dominance of ultra-national forces in Kiev, which are hunting those thinking differently throughout the country, enhance pressure on the Russian-speaking population and our fellow citizens, and threaten violence to Crimean residents for their aspiration of self-determination.
But those, who make decisions in the US, should think about the consequences of such reckless indulgence of radical elements of nationalistic shade in Ukraine and financial aid to them," the Russian Foreign Ministry said amid statements of Viktor Yanukovych on the intention of the US to provide Kiev with financial assistance.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it did note the words of Yanukovych that the plans of the US administration to allocate $1 billion to the current authorities in Kiev contradict existing US laws.
"Indeed, in accordance with the amendments made several years ago to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961," it is banned to provide financial aide to the government of any country, whose president elected legitimately has been overthrown as a result of a military coup or unlawful decision, the statement said.
This standard is stipulated in the section 22 paragraph 8422 of the US law code, "thus under all criteria allocating funds to the illegitimate regime, which seized the power with force, is illegal and is outside the framework of the US legal system," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
A declaration of independence adopted by the Crimean Verkhovna Rada is absolutely rightful, the Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the decision of Crimean lawmakers made earlier in the day. "The Russian Foreign Ministry considers the decision of the Crimean parliament to be absolutely legitimate," a Foreign Ministry statement reads.
The Ministry also expressed concern over instances of limitations of press freedom and discrimination against journalists covering the events in Ukraine.
"We are expecting the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) representative for the freedom of the press to give a prompt and impartial assessment of these instances of violations of journalists' rights and to ensure compliance with the relevant OSCE obligations by those currently in power in Kiev," the ministry's department of information and press said in a commentary posted on the ministry's website.
Parliamentarians in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol have adopted declarations on the territories' independence which is required for the judicial procedures as part of their entry into Russia, as well as for the referendum, a legislature spokesman said.
"A very important document - a declaration of independence - was adopted during the session. This document is needed for the judicial procedures as part of Crimea's entry into Russia, as well as for the Crimean referendum," the Crimean lawmaker added.
MPs of Crimea and Sevatopol stress that they acted in strict compliance with the UN Charter and took into account the fact that unilateral proclamations of independence don't violate international law. The provision was approved by the UN International Court on July 22, 2010, in relation to Kosovo.
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states, usually breakaway territories from within the larger state.
Such declarations are typically made without the consent of the associated state or union, and hence are sometimes called unilateral declarations of independence, particularly by those who question the declarations' validity.
In human history, there is a body of examples when part of the larger state decided to secede, however, a few of them particularly came to public notice.
In the United States, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, announcing that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a union that would become a new nation—the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova was a document adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova following the failure of the August coup attempt. The founding act of the Republic of Moldova from 1991 is celebrated on August 27, the National Day or Independence Day. The Republic of Moldova gained official recognition of statehood on 2 March 1992, by becoming a member of the United Nations.
The 2008 Kosovo Declaration of Independence was adopted on 17 February 2008 by the Assembly of Kosovo. The participants unanimously declared Kosovo to be independent from Serbia while all 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings. It was the second declaration of independence by Kosovo's Albanian-majority political institutions, the first was proclaimed on 7 September 1990. The legality of the declaration and whether it was an act of the Assembly has been disputed. Serbia sought international validation and support for its stance that the declaration was illegal, and in October 2008 requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. The Court determined that the declaration did not violate international law.
The Palestinian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by Yasser Arafat on 15 November 1988. It had previously been adopted by the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, by a vote of 253 in favor 46 against and 10 abstentions. It was read at the closing session of the 19th Palestinian National Council to a standing ovation. Upon completing the reading of the declaration, Arafat, as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, assumed the title of "President of Palestine." On 28 October 1974, the 1974 Arab League summit held in Rabat designated the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and reaffirmed their right to establish an independent state of urgency."
The Russian Lower House is going to discuss a draft law that will allow Ukraine’s breakaway republic of Crimea to join Russia, an MP with the ruling United Russia party has said. The law initiative has been submitted by the Just Russia party. United Russia's MP Vyacheslav Nikonov told reporters on Tuesday the draft legislation is to be looked into and probably amended by March 17. It will be put on the agenda on March 21.
The law describes the accession procedure for subjects of the Russian Federation. The Just Russia has moved to accept new subjects based on results of a referendum in the given region in the absence of an effective sovereign authority in the country, unless an international agreement can be reached.
Any new region that votes to join Russia will be granted the status of Russia’s subject.
The move follows the recent coup in Ukraine that has crippled the country’s executive authority, the party noted. Lawmakers stressed that the power takeover in the former Soviet republic was illegal and described the insurgents as fascist militants.
More than 80 percent of the Crimean population would back the republic’s accession to Russia. That is according to the Supreme Council’s chairman, Vladimir Konstantinov, who cites recent opinion poll results.
"Over 80% of Crimea residents are going to vote for accession to Russia, according to yesterday’s focus-group surveys," Mr. Konstantinov said.
He predicted a "considerably high" turnout for the upcoming referendum on March 16 that will decide the fate of the Black Sea peninsula.
Crimea’s authorities and its population are voicing no concern about the fact that Kiev is refusing to recognize the Crimean referendum and has even cancelled it, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, told newsmen Monday.
"We are even glad to learn that the Kiev authorities are refusing to recognize the referendum. We have not recognized them either," said Speaker of the Crimean Parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov .
By the time the referendum is underway, he will have more supporters, Konstantinov stressed.
He believes a considerable proportion of the Ukrainian population continues to say that the people support the policies of Crimean authorities and the referendum.
"Nobody wants to live under the Kiev regime," Konstantinov stressed.
The Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals, which made headlines last year when a meteor blazed above it to burst into pieces and plunge into a nearby lake, has staged a peaceful demonstration in support of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking minority and the Crimean republic.
The rally, in the heart of the city, drew an estimated 15,000 people from all walks of life and social organizations. The event was quite peaceful and without scuffles, police said.
This was the latest in a series of demonstrations aimed at supporting Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine after the coup on February 22, when power was seized by the country’s parliament. The Verkhovna Rada dismissed President Yanukovych, changed the Constitution and shifted presidential authority to its Speaker, Alexander Turchynov, a long-time ally of ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
The presidential election is slated for May 25. On February 27, the Rada unveiled the line-up for the so-called "Ukrainian government of people’s trust."
Yanukovych later confessed he had been forced to flee Ukraine for fear of being killed and was still the country’s president. Moscow believes there’s hardly any legitimacy to the new Ukrainian parliament, which has been denounced by several regions in the country’s south and east as "illegitimate." The Russian-dominated republic of Crimea has refused to recognize Kiev’s authority.
On March 16, residents of Crimea will go to the polls to decide the future of the region at a referendum.
Thousands of supporters of Russia gathered at Simferopol's Lenin square in Ukraine's Crimea on Sunday in support of uniting the region with Russia.
Crimean and Russian flags over the crowd as a Russian Black Sea Fleet band played patriotic songs.
The rally comes exactly a week before a March 16 referendum on unification.
Actions in support of Ukraine and Russian compatriots living in the country will be held in big cities throughout Russia this weekend. According to organisers' forecasts, the demonstrations will gather around 30,000 people.
Residents of the cities of Astrakhan and Pskov will assemble on Lenin Squares for rallies on Sunday, March 9. A march in support of Ukraine will be held in the city of Maikop, the capital of the Russian Republic of Adygeya.
Residents of Arkhangelsk, Chelyabinsk, Vologda, Perm and Chita will hold their actions on Monday, March 10. Around 18,000 people are expected to participate throughout these cities.
Massive actions - "people’s gatherings" - in support of Ukraine and Russian compatriots living in the country started in Russia last Sunday. Then marches and rallies initiated by patriotic youth and veteran organisations brought together tens of thousands people in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnodar.
Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax, rbc.ru, wikipedia.com