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Russia blames Kiev over visa regime, Ukraine woos int'l support over Crimea

English.news.cn   2014-03-20 22:35:33

MOSCOW/KIEV, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia's parliament speaker on Thursday accused Kiev of threatening to introduce a visa regime for Russians, while the Ukrainian parliament urged the international community not to recognize Crimea's accession treaty with Moscow.

Sergei Naryshkin, chairman of the Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, told reporters that Ukrainian authorities do not take into account the needs of common people.

Kiev's recent threats to introduce visa requirements for Russians were "political statements made by self-appointed authorities of Ukraine," he said.

Naryshkin's remarks came one day after Andriy Parubiy, head of Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council, said he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to introduce a visa regime for Russians "as soon as possible" due to tensions with the Kremlin over Crimea's accession to Russia.

"In case the visa regime is introduced, our citizens will certainly face big difficulties," said Naryshkin, adding that Russians and Ukrainians are knotted together with thousands of family ties and common interests.

"Obviously, Ukraine's leadership does not think about the people," he said.

Currently, visas are not required for travel between Russia and Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said all legal procedures governing accession of Crimea into Russia are to be completed this week.

"Currently practical steps are being undertaken to implement the treaty signed by Russian, Crimea and Sevastopol leaders about accession of two new regions into Russia," Lavrov told a meeting in the ministry.

He noted that Moscow would continue protecting Russians abroad with political, diplomatic and other legal means.

"We will insist that the countries where our fellow citizens live, fully respect their rights and freedoms," Lavrov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty with leaders of Crimea to accept the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of Russian territory. The State Duma is set to ratify the treaty on Thursday.

Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous republic that once belonged to Russia, held a referendum Sunday with some 96.6 percent of voters opting to join Russia.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament passed a declaration, urging the international community not to recognize the treaty to make Crimea part of the Russian Federation.

"The parliament appeals to the international community with the solicitation to refrain from recognition of the so-called Republic of Crimea and annexation of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia," the declaration said.

Kiev will never recognize the "annexation of an integral part of its territory seized by Russia through a gross violation of fundamental rules of the international law and the generally recognized principles of coexistence of nations," it said.

Ukraine will not give up its efforts to retrieve Crimea, no matter how much time it would require, the declaration said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his country should not be in a hurry to introduce a visa regime with Russia.

"A very large number of Ukrainian citizens are interested in maintaining a visa-free regime," Yatsenyuk was quoted by his press office as saying.

The visa regime between the two ex-Soviet states may harm primarily residents of eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, who travel to Russia for work and have family relations across the border, he said.

The prime minister added that the possible introduction of a visa regime is likely to have limited impact on Russian authorities and would not be effective in terms of influencing them.

In Washington, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Russia's action on Ukraine the gravest threat to European security and stability since the end of the Cold War.

"The only way for us to address these challenges is for Europe and North America to stand together," Rasmussen said in a speech late Wednesday at the Brookings Institute.

"The annexation of Crimea through a so-called referendum held at gunpoint is illegal and illegitimate, and it undermines all efforts to find a peaceful political solution," he added.

NATO foreign ministers will make decisions when they meet in Brussels early next month, the secretary general said, adding that still, the alliance will keep the door open for political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council, an official forum for discussions and contacts between the two sides.

Editor: yan
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