News / Europe

Crimean Tatar Leader Tells Putin Secession Would Break Post-Soviet Pact

A Crimean Tatar man prays at a mosque in Bakhchysarai, Ukraine, March 10, 2014.
A Crimean Tatar man prays at a mosque in Bakhchysarai, Ukraine, March 10, 2014.
Reuters
A Crimean Tatar leader told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that the secession of Crimea from Ukraine to join Russia would violate an international treaty in which Russia, Britain and the United States vowed to keep Ukraine intact.

Putin spoke by phone with Mustafa Dzhemilev, a senior figure in the Crimean Tatar community, in what may have been an effort to ease their concerns over a referendum on Sunday in which Crimeans will be asked whether they want to join Russia.

Many Crimean Tatars, who make up about 12 percent of the population of the Black Sea peninsula, are strongly opposed to falling under Russia's control and want be governed from Kiev. Their leader has called for a boycott of the plebiscite.

“I, of course, expressed doubt about the expediency of holding this referendum, and about its legitimacy,” Dzhemilev said in remarks to Ukraine's Channel 5 television.

The United States and European nations have said the Russian-backed vote would be illegitimate and are threatening to impose sanctions on Moscow if it goes ahead as planned. They say Russia has already seized control of Crimea.

“I told Putin that the issue of the territorial integrity of our country is very important,” Dzhemilev said, according to the Ukrainian news agency Unian. Dzhemilev was in Moscow when he spoke to Putin, who was in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He said he told Putin Crimean secession would violate a 1994 pact in which Russia, Britain and the United States committed to assuring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in return for its pledge to give up its ex-Soviet nuclear arsenal.

If this happens, “nobody will trust such agreements and there will be efforts to obtain nuclear weapons by every country with the financial wherewithal to do so - and Ukraine will be no exception,” Unian quoted him as saying.

The 1994 treaty was part of an effort to ensure the Soviet collapse of 1991 did not lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The superpower's breakup left Ukraine with the third-largest arsenal after the United States and Russia.

Exiled en masse by the Soviet authorities during World War Two, many Crimean Tatars are very wary of Russia.

Dzhemilev told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy that Putin had promised that the security and rights of Crimean Tatars would be protected.

Putin said “measures will be taken to solve all the social and legal problems of Crimean Tatars that went unsolved by the Ukrainian authorities for many years,” he was quoted as saying.

But Dzhemilev said he told Putin the best security guarantee would be the withdrawal of Russia forces from Crimea, Ekho Moskvy reported.

Russia denies sending troops into Crimea, saying armed men who have established what Western governments describe as “operational control” over the region are “self-defense units”.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio, USA
March 12, 2014 4:44 PM
The Crimeans can make their own bed -- and they'll have to lay in it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid