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PES denounces illegal referendum in Crimea

Pro-Ukrainian activists demonstratingYesterday the 16th of March a referendum was organized in Crimea where voters could chose between joining Russia, or the return of Ukraine to its status under the 1992 constitution, which would give the region much more autonomy. There was no option for those who wanted the constitution to remain unchanged. According to exit polls, 96% of Crimean voters chose to join Russia. 

"The referendum does not correspond to the international law and it is illegal under the Ukrainian constitution. Furthermore, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are being put at risk. The PES believes that Russia’s intentions to annex Crimea sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to further destabilization of the region", says PES President Sergei Stanishev.  

We call for immediate de-escalation of the situation and for reinstating a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. All parties involved should show full respect for international agreements, including the UN Charter, the 1997 military basing agreement, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the OSCE Final Act. It is our absolute priority to avoid further confrontation at Europe and Russia’s borders and to ensure dialogue between all parties involved, including between the EU and Russia. We support the deployment of a special OSCE monitoring mission for Ukraine.

It is of outmost importance that the new Ukrainian government is inclusive and works against extremism.

Further, the PES would like to reiterate previous statements made about the need for an inclusive government in Ukraine, respectful of minorities. The government in Kiev should do everything to show that all Ukrainians are equally protected and enjoy the same rights. 

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