BRUSSELS, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday said the upcoming pro-Russia referendum voted by the local Crimea parliament would be "an illegitimate decision," but ruled out a military conflict with Russia.
Yatsenyuk stressed in a press conference that "Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine." He pointed out that Ukraine would not have military conflict with Russia because "we can't compare Ukraine and Russian military."
On Thursday, a total of 78 of 86 lawmakers of the local Crimea parliament voted for the crisis-hit region to become part of Russia. They set a referendum on March 16, which would ask the Crimean people whether they would like to remain a part of Ukraine or join Russia.
Earlier, Alexandr Turchynov, the Ukrainian parliament speaker and the acting president of the country, proposed a referendum to extend Crimea's autonomy status on March 30.
Yatsenyuk and several European leaders are currently attending an extraordinary summit in Brussels to discuss solutions to the Ukraine issue.
The Ukrainian prime minister expressed his willingness to sign an association agreement with the European Union (EU).
Before the EU summit's opening, some European leaders said they want to see the Ukraine crisis being solved through talks.
Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras said on his arrival for the EU leaders meeting that the Ukraine crisis must be defused and Europe must prove its moderating role.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, on his arrival, called for efforts to "make sure to get Russia and Ukraine talking to each other."
Cameron said, "we need to send a very clear message to the Russian government that what is happening is unacceptable and should have consequences." He hoped the EU summit could have a "positive outcome."
Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen told a press Thursday that the EU is expected to bring Russia to the negotiation table in a bid to handle the Ukrainian turmoil. He also noted possible sanctions are ready.
On Wednesday, Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) chair Valentina Matvienkoa urged the West not to threaten sanctions against Moscow.
"Threats and language of sanctions towards Russia are absolutely counter-productive. It is impossible to imagine how sanctions could isolate Russia from the global economic process," She told reporters.
Russia slams U.S. for double standards over Ukraine
MOSCOW, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Thursday accused the United States of applying double standards to Moscow's assertions about the developments in Ukraine.
"The (U.S.) State Department is trying to play on a shamelessly one-sided interpretation of events as though there wasn't abundant evidence of outrages perpetrated by radical nationalists (in Ukraine)," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement, referring to a statement released by U.S. government criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Full story
Obama says Crimea referendum would violate Ukraine's Constitution, int'l law
WASHINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The proposed upcoming referendum in Crimea would violate Ukraine's Constitution and the international law, and any discussion on the future of Crimea should include the Ukrainian government, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday.
Speaking on the Ukraine crisis at the White House, Obama said the U.S. has been mobilizing the international community to " condemn" Russia's "violation of international law" and support the people and government of Ukraine since Russia's "intervention" of Crimea. Full story