KIEV, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring southern Crimea peninsula as a "territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation," the parliament's press service said.
The new law, which establishes a special legal regime in Crimea, won 228 votes cast in the 450-seat assembly.
The legislation said Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, and airspace and territorial waters surrounding them are considered as an integral part of Ukraine.
The law imposes travel restrictions on visiting Crimea, requiring tourists to have special permits for entering the peninsula.
According to the legislation, state and private properties in Crimea, including offshore oil and natural gas platforms, will stay under the proprietorship of their current owners.
Contrary to local analysts' expectations, the law does not envisage a ban on economic and business activities in Crimea.
On March 17, the Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine, after official results from a peninsula-wide referendum showed 96.77 percent of Crimean voters favoring joining Russia.
One day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty accepting the Crimea republic and the city of Sevastopol as part of Russian territory.
Kiev has rejected the referendum and Crimea's integration into Russia, saying it was unconstitutional.
WASHINGTON, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Tuesday urged the Ukrainian government to act "gradually" and "responsibly " in its efforts to ease tension in the eastern part of the country, as Kiev began military operations against pro-Russia militants occupying government buildings there.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington has urged restraint and commended Kiev for doing so in its handling of the latest wave of unrest in three eastern states of Ukraine, where pro-Russia protesters have staged rallies, called for federalism in the country or joining the Russian Federation, and stormed and occupied some government buildings since April 6. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as other parties, to work to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine.
In a phone call with Putin, Ban "expressed his alarm about the highly volatile situation in eastern Ukraine and underlined that any deepening of the crisis would be profoundly detrimental for all concerned; hence the need for everyone to work to de-escalate the situation," the UN spokesperson office said. Full story