BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday reiterated its call for political dialogue to appropriately address the Crimea crisis after a referendum was held on the region's future status.
"We hope that the Crimea issue will be appropriately handled and resolved through political dialogue as soon as possible while the reasonable concern and legitimate rights of all sides are respected," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.
The Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine on Monday, after official results showed 96.77 percent of Crimean voters chose to join Russia in Sunday's referendum.
Late on Monday, Hong said in response to the outcome of the referendum that China maintains an "objective and fair position" on the ongoing Ukraine crisis, urging all parties involved to seek political solution through talks.
China is deeply concerned at the development of the situation in Crimea, the spokesman said. "We call on all sides to exercise restraint."
The Crimea crisis began in late February following the ousting of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Senior Russian politician calls U.S. sanctions "blackmail"
MOSCOW, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Moscow on Monday slammed a U.S. decision to introduce sanctions against several Russian politicians over the Ukrainian crisis, labeling the sanctions a " political blackmail".
"Imposing the sanctions on the Russian top officials who exercise their state functions is an unprecedented decision," Russian Federal Council, upper house of the parliament, speaker Valentina Matvienko told reporters. Full story
EU imposes sanctions on 21 persons after Crimea move
BRUSSELS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday adopted sanctions against 21 persons, identifying them as "responsible for actions threatening Ukraine's territorial integrity."
"The Council has today adopted EU restrictive measures against persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as persons and entities associated with them," said a EU statement issued after a meeting of the 28-member bloc's foreign ministers. Full story
Russia allows Ukraine to conduct inspection flight
MOSCOW, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Moscow will lend a helicopter to Ukrainian inspectors who asked to carry out a monitoring mission over Russia's Belgorod and Kursk regions, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.
"Assuming the commitment to our international obligations regarding the Vienna document on trust and security measures (of 2011), we have agreed yet again to allow the Ukrainian group onto our territory," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters. Full story