Ukraine vetoes Crimea's referendum on joining Russia

Ukraine vetoes Crimea's referendum on joining Russia

Ukrainian parliament Speaker Alexandr Turchynov signed a decree Friday vetoing the Crimean parliament's decision to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Under the Constitution of Ukraine as well as the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, any regional referendum is illegal, Xinhua quoted the decree as stating.

The issue could be settled only by a nationwide referendum approved by the country's parliament, it said.

The parliament of the Crimea Thursday voted to become part of Russia. The parliament session has also set a referendum March 16, which would ask the preference of the Crimean people whether to remain a part of Ukraine or to join Russia.

Turchynov, who is also Ukraine's acting president, described the Crimean parliament's move as a "farce" and "crime against the state" and said the Ukrainian parliament has started legal procedures to dismiss Crimean lawmakers.

In Moscow, Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, said Friday that Russia would respect any choice made by the Crimean people in the upcoming referendum on the autonomous republic's future status.

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