7 March, 17:56

Russia's State Duma consider Crimea annexation bill on March 21

Russia's State Duma consider Crimea annexation bill on March 21

A bill making it easer to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea could have its first reading in the State Duma on March 21.

"This date has been proposed for the first reading by the Committee for Constitutional Legislation and Nation-Building," the lower house said on Friday.

The proposal will be considered by the Duma council at its next session on Tuesday.

Crimean parliament to do everything possible for Ukraine reunion with Russia - speaker

The Speaker of Crimea's parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, pledged to do everything possible for Ukraine to reunite with Russia.

"I hope that you'll be able to bring up a new leader in Ukraine. We talked about it several times. We said a new Bohdan Khmelnytsky (organized a rebellion against Polish rule in Ukraine that ultimately led to the transfer of Ukrainian lands east of the Dnieper River from Polish to Russian control) would emerge and unite the two greatest states, which could not exist separately," Konstantinov said at a meeting with State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and leaders of the lower house's factions.

"Yesterday I received many calls from the eastern regions of Ukraine and from Odessa. People congratulated me. They said all was great," the Crimean parliament speaker said.

"Unfortunately, we have big problems," he said, adding that Ukraine "is part of the united Russian world. After we solve Crimea's problem (I'm sure we will solve it) we must exert maximum effort not just to protect ethnic Russians."

"In general, all citizens of Ukraine - Russians and Ukrainians should be protected from Nazism and from the West's pressure that imposes its ideology," Konstantinov said.

"I believe that Ukraine's present power will collapse. The power will have serious contradictions within the year. Today instead of making Ukraine a united state it does not hear the interests of Ukraine's south-east," the Crimean speaker said.

Russia's State Duma faction leaders back Crimean legislature's decisions, March 16 referendum

The leaders of all four factions represented in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, have declared their support for the Crimean Parliament's decisions and the March 16 referendum on the autonomous republic's future status.

"The will of citizens is sacred to me, as a human being and a political figure and we will support it as strongly as possible," Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said at a meeting with Crimean Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Konstantinov and his delegation in Moscow on Friday.

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin is presiding over the meeting.

The chamber's deputy speaker and United Russia faction leader, Vladimir Vasilyev, for his part, said at the meeting that the State Duma resolutely supports the Crimean population in this difficult time, after the Maidan protesters came to power in Kiev.

"The absolute majority of Russian citizens were delighted and proud to learn of the decisions adopted by the Supreme Council of Crimea," State Duma Deputy Speaker and United Russia MP Sergei Zheleznyak said.

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who also attended the meeting with the Crimean delegation, said that millions of Russian citizens were pleased to hear news of the Crimean Parliament's decisions.

"It has been the most joyous piece of news since 1945," he said.

Zhirinovsky called on Crimean citizens not to be afraid of anything because Russia would certainly support the outcome of the referendum.

"I would like to assure you that everything will happen just the way the people of Crimea want it to happen.You should stand firm. You should have no doubts," he said.

"People will carry you on their shoulders. Your names will create a new chapter in the history of Crimea," Zhirinovsky said.

A Just Russia faction first deputy chairman Mikhail Yemelynov also assured the Crimean delegation that Russian MPs would support the decisions that would be made democratically in Crimea's referendum.

"Russia is able to extend financial support to Crimea, and we will prepare amendments to the budget in the near future," he said.

State Duma CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky, for his part, said that "a few days after the referendum [in Crimea], the State Duma will document a decision that will be made by the people of Crimea in the referendum".

"[Russian] deputies are supporting you in the most resolute manner," Naryshkin told the Crimean delegation at the end of the meeting.

Read also:

Events in east Ukraine, Crimea have nothing to do with Russia - Moscow

EU uses double standards in interpreting Ukraine's Constitution - Russian envoy

Western countries demonstrate 'hypocritical indignation' on Crimea referendum - expert

Voice of Russia, TASS, Interfax

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