Ukraine PM: Crimea ‘was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine’ – CNN

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Ukraine PM: Crimea ‘was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine’ – CNNby wpjljron.Ukraine PM: Crimea ‘was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine’ – CNN.cnn_html_media_utility::before{color:red;content:’>>’;font-size:9px;line-height:12px;padding-right:1px} .cnnstrylccimg640{margin:0 27px 14px 0} .captionText{filter:alpha(opacity=100);opacity:1} .cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:visited,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:link,.captionText a,.captionText a:visited,.captiontext a:link{color:#004276;outline:medium none} .cnnVerticalGalleryPhoto{margin:0 auto;padding-right:68px;width:270px} ]]> The coffin of a man killed near Maidan Square is carried through central Kiev on Thursday, March 6. Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats accuse Russia of sending thousands of troops into the Crimea region in the past week, […]

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The coffin of a man killed near Maidan Square is carried through central Kiev on Thursday, March 6. Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats accuse Russia of sending thousands of troops into the Crimea region in the past week, a claim Russia has denied. The crisis in the former Soviet republic has revived concerns of a return to Cold War relationships. Follow the evolving story on <a href='//cnnworldlive.cnn.com/Event/Crisis_in_Ukraine_2?hpt=hp_t1'>CNN's live blog</a>.The coffin of a man killed near Maidan Square is carried through central Kiev on Thursday, March 6. Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats accuse Russia of sending thousands of troops into the Crimea region in the past week, a claim Russia has denied. The crisis in the former Soviet republic has revived concerns of a return to Cold War relationships. Follow the evolving story on CNN’s live blog.
Servicemen guard a checkpoint at a Ukrainian Navy base in Perevalnoe, Crimea, on March 6.Servicemen guard a checkpoint at a Ukrainian Navy base in Perevalnoe, Crimea, on March 6.
Ukrainian troops guard the Belbek air base outside Sevastopol, Ukraine, on March 6.Ukrainian troops guard the Belbek air base outside Sevastopol, Ukraine, on March 6.
A woman walks past barricades on March 6 that were set up by anti-government protesters in Kiev's Independence Square.A woman walks past barricades on March 6 that were set up by anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.
A sailor guards the Ukrainian Navy ship Slavutych in the Bay of Sevastopol on Wednesday, March 5.A sailor guards the Ukrainian Navy ship Slavutych in the Bay of Sevastopol on Wednesday, March 5.
People wait in line for food distribution in Independence Square on March 5.People wait in line for food distribution in Independence Square on March 5.
Ukrainian sailors carry meat to their vessel in the Sevastopol harbor on March 5.Ukrainian sailors carry meat to their vessel in the Sevastopol harbor on March 5.
Riot police stand at the entrance of a regional administrative building during a rally in Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 5.Riot police stand at the entrance of a regional administrative building during a rally in Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 5.
A Ukrainian police officer gives instructions to members of the media in front of the business class lounge of the Simferopol airport on March 5.A Ukrainian police officer gives instructions to members of the media in front of the business class lounge of the Simferopol airport on March 5.
Pro-Russia demonstrators wave a Russian flag after storming a regional administrative building in Donetsk on March 5.Pro-Russia demonstrators wave a Russian flag after storming a regional administrative building in Donetsk on March 5.
Demonstrators break a police barrier as they storm a regional administrative building in Donetsk on March 5.Demonstrators break a police barrier as they storm a regional administrative building in Donetsk on March 5.
Ukrainian military recruits line up to receive instructions in Kiev's Independence Square on Tuesday, March 4. Ukrainian military recruits line up to receive instructions in Kiev’s Independence Square on Tuesday, March 4.
People stand on the Ukrainian Navy ship Slavutich while it's at harbor in Sevastopol on March 4. Mattresses were placed over the side of the ship to hinder any attempted assault.People stand on the Ukrainian Navy ship Slavutich while it’s at harbor in Sevastopol on March 4. Mattresses were placed over the side of the ship to hinder any attempted assault.
Ukrainian troops watch as a Russian navy ship blocks the entrance of the Ukrainian navy base in Sevastopol on March 4.Ukrainian troops watch as a Russian navy ship blocks the entrance of the Ukrainian navy base in Sevastopol on March 4.
A woman photographs pro-Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalnoye, Ukraine, on March 4.A woman photographs pro-Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine’s infantry base in Perevalnoye, Ukraine, on March 4.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, wearing a blue scarf, visits a shrine March 4 for the people who were killed during anti-government protests in Kiev last month.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, wearing a blue scarf, visits a shrine March 4 for the people who were killed during anti-government protests in Kiev last month.
Yuli Mamchun, the commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek air base near Sevastopol, salutes on March 4.Yuli Mamchun, the commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek air base near Sevastopol, salutes on March 4.
Russian soldiers stand guard at the Belbek air base on March 4.Russian soldiers stand guard at the Belbek air base on March 4.
Ukrainian military members march at the Belbek air base on March 4.Ukrainian military members march at the Belbek air base on March 4.
Russian soldiers fire warning shots to keep back Ukrainian military members at the Belbek air base on March 4.Russian soldiers fire warning shots to keep back Ukrainian military members at the Belbek air base on March 4.
A Ukrainian airman puts the Ukrainian national flag over the gate of the Belbek air base as they guard what's left under their control on March 4.A Ukrainian airman puts the Ukrainian national flag over the gate of the Belbek air base as they guard what’s left under their control on March 4.
Russian soldiers aim a grenade launcher and machine gun as they guard positions at the Belbek air base on March 4.Russian soldiers aim a grenade launcher and machine gun as they guard positions at the Belbek air base on March 4.
Ukrainian seamen stand guard on the Ukrainian navy ship Slavutich in the Sevastopol harbor on Monday, March 3.Ukrainian seamen stand guard on the Ukrainian navy ship Slavutich in the Sevastopol harbor on Monday, March 3.
Oleg, a Ukrainian soldier, kisses his girlfriend, Svetlana, through the gates of the Belbek base entrance on March 3. Tensions are high at the base, where Ukrainian soldiers were standing guard inside the building while alleged Russian gunmen were standing guard outside the gates.Oleg, a Ukrainian soldier, kisses his girlfriend, Svetlana, through the gates of the Belbek base entrance on March 3. Tensions are high at the base, where Ukrainian soldiers were standing guard inside the building while alleged Russian gunmen were standing guard outside the gates.
Wives of Ukrainian soldiers walk past Russian soldiers to visit their husbands guarding a military base in Perevalnoye on March 3.Wives of Ukrainian soldiers walk past Russian soldiers to visit their husbands guarding a military base in Perevalnoye on March 3.
A Russian soldier guards an area outside Ukraine's military base in the village of Perevalnoye on March 3.A Russian soldier guards an area outside Ukraine’s military base in the village of Perevalnoye on March 3.
A sailor looks out a window near the entrance to the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 3.A sailor looks out a window near the entrance to the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 3.
Armed men in military uniform walk outside a Ukrainian military unit near Simferopol on Sunday, March 2. Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded the Ukrainian base Sunday in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving.Armed men in military uniform walk outside a Ukrainian military unit near Simferopol on Sunday, March 2. Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded the Ukrainian base Sunday in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving.
Soldiers walk outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne, Ukraine, as a local resident waves a Russian flag March 2.Soldiers walk outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne, Ukraine, as a local resident waves a Russian flag March 2.
Demonstrators shout during a rally in Kiev's Independence Square on March 2.Demonstrators shout during a rally in Kiev’s Independence Square on March 2.
Ukrainian soldiers, left, and unidentified gunmen, right, stand at the gate of an infantry base in Perevalnoye on March 2. Ukrainian soldiers, left, and unidentified gunmen, right, stand at the gate of an infantry base in Perevalnoye on March 2.
Ukrainian soldiers guard a gate of an infantry base in Perevalnoye on March 2.Ukrainian soldiers guard a gate of an infantry base in Perevalnoye on March 2.
A woman cries during a rally in Independence Square on March 2.A woman cries during a rally in Independence Square on March 2.
Protesters hold flags of the United States, Germany and Italy during a rally in Independence Square on March 2.Protesters hold flags of the United States, Germany and Italy during a rally in Independence Square on March 2.
People attend a morning prayer service at Independence Square on March 2. People attend a morning prayer service at Independence Square on March 2.
A soldier and a truck driver unload bread outside the Ukranian navy headquarters in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on March 2.A soldier and a truck driver unload bread outside the Ukranian navy headquarters in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on March 2.
Heavily armed troops, displaying no identifying insignia and who were mingling with local pro-Russian militants, stand guard outside a local government building in Simferopol, Ukraine, on March 2. Heavily armed troops, displaying no identifying insignia and who were mingling with local pro-Russian militants, stand guard outside a local government building in Simferopol, Ukraine, on March 2.
A woman waits in front of unidentified men in military fatigues who were blocking a base of the Ukrainian frontier guard unit in Balaklava, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 1.A woman waits in front of unidentified men in military fatigues who were blocking a base of the Ukrainian frontier guard unit in Balaklava, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 1.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office of the White House, talks on the phone March 1 with Russian President Vladimir Putin.U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office of the White House, talks on the phone March 1 with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Troops stand guard in Balaklava on March 1. Troops stand guard in Balaklava on March 1.
Heavily armed soldiers displaying no identifying insignia maintain watch in Simferopol, Ukraine, on March 1.Heavily armed soldiers displaying no identifying insignia maintain watch in Simferopol, Ukraine, on March 1.
People gather around the coffin of a man who was killed during clashes with riot police in Independence Square.People gather around the coffin of a man who was killed during clashes with riot police in Independence Square.
Pro-Russian activists hold Russian flags during a rally in the center of Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 1.Pro-Russian activists hold Russian flags during a rally in the center of Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 1.
Pro-Russian activists clash with Maidan supporters as they storm the regional government building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 1.Pro-Russian activists clash with Maidan supporters as they storm the regional government building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 1.
A protester stands at a memorial March 1 for the people killed in clashes at Independence Square.A protester stands at a memorial March 1 for the people killed in clashes at Independence Square.
Armed men patrol outside the Simferopol International Airport in Ukraine's Crimea region on Friday, February 28. Simferopol is the regional capital.Armed men patrol outside the Simferopol International Airport in Ukraine’s Crimea region on Friday, February 28. Simferopol is the regional capital.
An image provided to CNN by a local resident shows Russian tanks on the move in Sevastopol, Ukraine. An image provided to CNN by a local resident shows Russian tanks on the move in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Russian troops block a road February 28 toward the military airport in Sevastopol, Ukraine. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based at the port city of Sevastopol.Russian troops block a road February 28 toward the military airport in Sevastopol, Ukraine. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based at the port city of Sevastopol.
Armed men stand guard in front of a building near the Simferopol airport on February 28. Armed men stand guard in front of a building near the Simferopol airport on February 28.
An armed man wearing no identifying insignia patrols outside Simferopol International Airport on February 28. An armed man wearing no identifying insignia patrols outside Simferopol International Airport on February 28.
Police stand guard outside the Crimea regional parliament building Thursday, February 27, in Simferopol. Armed men seized the regional government administration building and parliament in Crimea. Police stand guard outside the Crimea regional parliament building Thursday, February 27, in Simferopol. Armed men seized the regional government administration building and parliament in Crimea.
Police intervene as Russian supporters gather in front of the parliament building in Simferopol on February 27.Police intervene as Russian supporters gather in front of the parliament building in Simferopol on February 27.
A man adds fuel to a fire at a barricade in Independence Square on February 27. Dozens of people were killed last week during clashes between security forces and protesters.A man adds fuel to a fire at a barricade in Independence Square on February 27. Dozens of people were killed last week during clashes between security forces and protesters.
Pro-Russia demonstrators wave Russian and Crimean flags in front of a local government building in Simferopol on February 27. Pro-Russia demonstrators wave Russian and Crimean flags in front of a local government building in Simferopol on February 27.
Barricades in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 27 hold a banner that reads: "Crimea Russia." There's a broad divide between those who support the pro-Western developments in Kiev and those who back Russia's continued influence in Crimea and across Ukraine.Barricades in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 27 hold a banner that reads: “Crimea Russia.” There’s a broad divide between those who support the pro-Western developments in Kiev and those who back Russia’s continued influence in Crimea and across Ukraine.
Protesters stand in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 27. Tensions have simmered in the Crimea region since the Ukrainian president's ouster.Protesters stand in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 27. Tensions have simmered in the Crimea region since the Ukrainian president’s ouster.
Protesters in support of the president's ouster rally in Independence Square, which has been the center of opposition, on Wednesday, February 26.Protesters in support of the president’s ouster rally in Independence Square, which has been the center of opposition, on Wednesday, February 26.
Security forces stand guard during clashes between opposing sides in front of Crimea's parliament building in Simferopol on February 26.Security forces stand guard during clashes between opposing sides in front of Crimea’s parliament building in Simferopol on February 26.
Pro-Russian demonstrators, right, clash with anti-Russian protesters in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 26. Pro-Russian demonstrators, right, clash with anti-Russian protesters in front of a government building in Simferopol on February 26.
A police officer gets pulled into a crowd of Crimean Tatars in Simferopol on February 26. The Tatars, an ethnic minority group deported during the Stalin era, is rallying in support of Ukraine's interim government.A police officer gets pulled into a crowd of Crimean Tatars in Simferopol on February 26. The Tatars, an ethnic minority group deported during the Stalin era, is rallying in support of Ukraine’s interim government.
A man places flowers at a barricade near Independence Square on February 26.A man places flowers at a barricade near Independence Square on February 26.
On February 26 in Kiev, A woman holds a photograph of a protester killed during the height of tensions.On February 26 in Kiev, A woman holds a photograph of a protester killed during the height of tensions.
Police guard a government building in Donetsk on February 26.Police guard a government building in Donetsk on February 26.
Protesters remove a fence that surrounds Ukraine's parliament in Kiev on February 26.Protesters remove a fence that surrounds Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev on February 26.
People sing the Ukrainian national anthem at Independence Square on Monday, February 24.People sing the Ukrainian national anthem at Independence Square on Monday, February 24.
Gas masks used by protesters sit next to a barricade in Independence Square on February 24.Gas masks used by protesters sit next to a barricade in Independence Square on February 24.
A woman cries February 24 near a memorial for the people killed in Kiev.A woman cries February 24 near a memorial for the people killed in Kiev.
People wave a large Ukrainian flag in Independence Square on Sunday, February 23.People wave a large Ukrainian flag in Independence Square on Sunday, February 23.
Two pro-government supporters are made to pray February 23 in front of a shrine to dead anti-government protesters.Two pro-government supporters are made to pray February 23 in front of a shrine to dead anti-government protesters.
A man and his daughter lay flowers at a memorial for protesters killed in Independence Square. A man and his daughter lay flowers at a memorial for protesters killed in Independence Square.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks at Independence Square on Saturday, February 22, hours after being released from prison. Tymoshenko, considered a hero of a 2004 revolution against Yanukovych, was released after 2½ years behind bars.Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks at Independence Square on Saturday, February 22, hours after being released from prison. Tymoshenko, considered a hero of a 2004 revolution against Yanukovych, was released after 2½ years behind bars.
Tymoshenko is greeted by supporters shortly after being freed from prison in Kharkiv on February 22.Tymoshenko is greeted by supporters shortly after being freed from prison in Kharkiv on February 22.
A protester guards the entrance to Yanukovych's abandoned residence outside Kiev on February 22. A protester guards the entrance to Yanukovych’s abandoned residence outside Kiev on February 22.
Anti-government protesters guard the streets next to the presidential offices in Kiev on February 22. Anti-government protesters guard the streets next to the presidential offices in Kiev on February 22.
Anti-government protesters drive a military vehicle in Independence Square on February 22. Many protesters said they wouldn't leave the square until Yanukovych resigned.Anti-government protesters drive a military vehicle in Independence Square on February 22. Many protesters said they wouldn’t leave the square until Yanukovych resigned.
Ukrainian lawmakers argue during a session of Parliament on Friday, February 21.Ukrainian lawmakers argue during a session of Parliament on Friday, February 21.
Men in Kiev carry a casket containing the body of a protester killed in clashes with police.Men in Kiev carry a casket containing the body of a protester killed in clashes with police.
Protesters cheer after news of an agreement between the opposing sides in Kiev on February 21.Protesters cheer after news of an agreement between the opposing sides in Kiev on February 21.

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Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — We’re leaving. No, you’re not.

That’s where the crisis in Ukraine stood Thursday after lawmakers in Crimea voted in favor of leaving the country for Russia and putting it to a regional vote in 10 days.

This act drew widespread condemnation, with Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calling such a referendum “an illegitimate decision.”

“Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine,” he said.

It was a sentiment echoed by several world leaders, who called the scheduled vote and possible pullout violations of Ukrainian and international law.

“Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine,” said U.S. President Barack Obama. “In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

It’s not clear how easily the region could split off from Ukraine even if the referendum endorses the move.

The developments came at a dizzying pace Thursday as Yatsenyuk joined emergency talks in Brussels, Belgium, called by leaders of the European Union who support the Kiev government and want to de-escalate the crisis.

The EU and the United States announced plans to freeze the assets of Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted as Ukraine’s president after he turned his back on a trade deal with the EU in favor of one with Russia.

The rejected trade deal prompted months of protests that culminated in February with bloody street clashes that left dozens dead and Yanukovych out of office.

Interpol said it is reviewing a request by Ukrainian authorities that would allow for the arrest of Yanukovych on charges of abuse of power and murder, an allegation tied to the death of protesters.

Moscow has denounced the events that led to Yanukovych’s ouster as an illegitimate coup and has refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, putting the two countries on a collision course over control of the Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea that has long ties to Russia and has thousands of Russian troops stationed there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted he has the right to use military force in Ukraine if necessary to protect ethnic Russians under threat in Crimea. Ukrainian officials say no such threat exists and say Putin is using it as a pretext to control the region.

As the standoff continued, Ukrainian authorities announced the arrest Thursday of a leader of a pro-Russian movement in the eastern city of Donetsk. Authorities said he is a Ukrainian national named Pavlo Gubarev, a self-proclaimed governor of Donetsk.

In Crimea, worlds collide

Growing divide

The crisis threatens to not only divide Ukraine, but Russia and the West. Those two sides have exchanged barbs and threatened punitive measures against each other in recent days, all while offering divergent views on the situation in Crimea.

Two diplomats at the center of the crisis — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — met face-to-face on Thursday. They agreed to continue talking “over the course of the next hours, the next days” to try to find a political solution to end the crisis, Kerry told reporters following the meeting.

The diplomats’ bosses, Obama and Putin, talked for an hour Thursday afternoon, with the U.S. president stating “Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty” and that there is a diplomatic way out, according to the White House.

Putin’s office said the call — initiated by Obama — “revealed differences in approaches and assessments of the causes of the crisis and the current situation.” He also voiced Russia’s view it “cannot ignore calls for help” from eastern and southeastern Ukraine, before concluding that Lavrov and Kerry “will continue intensive contacts.”

Such conversations haven’t stopped either side from taking action.

EU nations, for instance, announced Thursday they will suspend bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters and have threatened travel bans, asset freezes and cancellation of the EU-Russia summit.

“Any further steps by the Russian Federation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine would lead to additional and far reaching consequences for relations in a broad range of economic areas,” EU leaders said, having also threatened travels bans on certain Russians and the freezing of some assets.

The United States has taken action. The State Department has imposed a visa ban on Russian and Ukrainian officials and others that it says are responsible for, or complicit in, threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Obama signed an executive order laying the groundwork for sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for the crisis.

Despite such pressure, Russia hasn’t budged, even refusing to engage in direct talks with the new Ukrainian authorities in Kiev. As his office noted after the Obama call, Putin believes this government “is a result of an unconstitutional revolution” and imposed “illegitimate decisions.”

The dispute has threatened to boil into a military conflict.

Putin has denied claims by Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats that Russia has sent thousands of troops into the region in recent days. Moscow says the heavily armed troops, who are in uniforms without insignia and who have reportedly encircled Ukrainian bases, are local “self-defense” forces.

Meanwhile, Russia has begun an air defense drill 280 miles (450 kilometers) from Ukraine’s border, reports Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti. A military spokesman called it “the largest-ever exercise held by air defense units” in the region.

Russian authorities said the drills are part of a regular combat training cycle, according to the news agency. But the move comes a day after the U.S. military announced it was beefing up the number of fighter jets in the Baltics, adding six F-15s to the four participating in a NATO mission in the region.

Five possible ways to end the crisis

Voting for Russia or Ukraine?

Amid all the diplomatic wrangling, it is Ukrainians who are most directly affected. And they hardly are speaking with one voice.

Furor in the western part of the country over Yanukovych, his powers and his bringing Ukraine closer to Russia led to his ouster. Now, most people here support the new government and oppose Russian intervention, as well as the prospect of Crimea becoming part of Russia.

The sentiment tends to be very different in Crimea — which was part of Russia until being given to Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev — and other parts of southern and eastern Ukraine.

Late last month, the parliament in Crimea installed a new, pro-Moscow government late last month — as armed, pro-Russian men besieged the parliament building — and does not recognize the authorities in Kiev.

Citizens will be allowed to vote on March 16 on whether they want an autonomous republic of Crimea within Russia; or within Ukraine.

The autonomous region has a 60% ethnic Russian population, having been part of Russia until it was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet Union. But not everyone may be as keen on coming under Moscow’s direct influence. About 25% of the peninsula’s population is Ukrainian and about 12% is Crimean Tatar, a predominantly Muslim group.

As riot police looked on, hundreds gathered Thursday in the southern port city of Odessa under the flag of the former Soviet Union calling for unity with Russia.

“We are all standing here for Russia,” one masked protester told CNN’s Matthew Chance. “None of us wants to be part of the European Union.”

Late Thursday, the management of the hotel in the Crimean capital of Simferopol where CNN has been based told the network to stop broadcasting from there. Other media outlets got the same message, and no reason was given.

Not everyone in this region wants to become part of Russia. Protesters, including one topless woman who was dragged away screaming, railed against the Crimean parliament vote and Putin. But they were drowned out by a heckling, pro-Russian crowd.

Alex Shiroki, from Yalta, said that his boss asked him, point-blank, “Are you for Ukraine or for Russia?” While his boss favors the latter, Shiroki does not, saying he’d probably leave if Crimea ends up splitting from Ukraine.

U.S. paves way for sanctions on Russians, Ukrainians over Crimea

Michael Crawford, a former British ambassador in Eastern Europe, said that may not happen — at least easily or peacefully — even if voters support such a split in the upcoming referendum.

“For Russia to start cherry-picking bits of the former Soviet Union, cranking up referenda in Kazakhstan or Latvia or wherever you like, to try to carve off bits, would be against international law,” Crawford said, “And it would be something Vladimir Putin has said he doesn’t want to do.”

Yatsenyuk said that if Ukraine is broken up, the world will have trouble ever getting another country to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Why? In 1994, Ukraine agreed to give up its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal in return for guarantees — signed by the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia — of its territorial integrity and independence.

What happens now to Ukraine “will have an impact on nuclear nonproliferation programs,” Yatsenyuk said.

Live updates of the crisis in Ukraine

U.N. envoy to CNN: Situation in Crimea ‘dangerous’

Anchor quits: I can’t be part of network ‘that whitewashes’ Putin’s actions

CNN’s Michael Holmes reported from Kiev, Chelsea J. Carter wrote and reported from Atlanta, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported in London. CNN’s Anna Coren in Simferopol and Tim Schwarz in Kiev contributed to this report. CNN’s Greg Botelho, Richard Roth, Elise Labott, Michelle Kosinski, Susan Garraty, Susannah Palk and Yon Pomrenze also contributed.



Source Article from http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/06/world/europe/ukraine-russia-tensions/

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