Russia reveals proposal to end Ukraine crisis
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged Ukraine to organize itself as a federal state and call new elections.Source: Beta, BBC, Tanjug
In a statement posted on the ministry's website on Monday, an appeal is made to the Ukrainian parliament to convene a constituent session that would draft a new constitution. This would give the country a federal system and transfer more powers to regions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also has said that these proposals are part of an effort by Moscow to calm tensions in Ukraine by diplomatic means.
Russia insists that Ukrainian regions should be given broader autonomy and that the country adopts a "neutral political and military status."
The ministry said that Russia a week ago suggested to the United States and the EU the setting up of an international support group for Ukraine, so that the country could get out of the crisis.
"Taking into account the requirements of the U.S. and European countries, we prepared and submitted a week ago to our major partners in the United States, Europe and other regions Russia's proposals on ways to support those measures that Ukrainians themselves need to bring in order to exit the crisis," the statement said.
Moscow proposes "the formation of a support group for Ukraine that would be acceptable to all Ukrainian political forces," the statement added.
Among these conditions is the necessity of Ukrainian politicians to distance themselves from ultra-nationalists which Moscow accuses of having entered the new government in Kiev after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Russia proposes that the Russian language is made the second official language in Ukraine, and that Ukraine adopts a "neutral military and political status that would be guaranteed by Russia, the European Union and the United States, and supported by a UN Security Council resolution."
Meanwhile, at Sunday's referendum, 97 percent of the population of Crimea voted for this Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia.
On Monday morning, the Crimean parliament passed a vote to the same effect, and also to nationalize all Ukrainian state assets in the region.
At least 91 percent of Russians support the unification of Crimea and Russia, according to the latest survey conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM).
Asked whether Russia has a duty to protect the interests of ethnic Russians and other minorities in Crimea, 94 percent of respondents said yes, three percent said no, and three percent were undecided, reports Voice of Russia.
84 percent of respondents said that Russia must protect the interests of the inhabitants of Crimea at any cost, even if it is complicated relations with other countries.
The statement "Crimea is Russia" was supported by 86 percent of Russians, nine percent disagreed with this, while five percent were undecided.
The EU and U.S. have announced travel bans and asset freezes against a number of officials from Russia and Ukraine, the BBC reported.
The individuals targeted by the sanctions are seen as having played a key role in the Crimea referendum, which Kiev, the U.S. and EU deem illegal.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Washington was "ready to impose further sanctions depending on whether Russia escalated or deescalated the situation in Ukraine."
The EU announced sanctions against 21 officials after a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted that further measures were expected to be taken in the next few days, the BBC reported.