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February 25, 2014 22:21

Russia still views Yanukovych as legitimate Ukrainian president - Duma deputy

SIMFEROPOL. Feb 25 (Interfax) - Russia still considers Viktor Yanukovych the legitimate president of Ukraine, says Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian State Duma committee for the CIS affairs, Eurasian integration, and links with compatriots.

"We still view Viktor Yanukovych as the legitimate president of Ukraine. He did not sign the 2004 constitution; hence, we don't have the 2004 constitution in the Ukrainian legal framework as the valid one, and therefore legitimacy of the so-called laws the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada has adopted in the past several days is a big question for us," Slutsky said at a meeting with members of the Crimean coalition council of Russian compatriots, which took place at the Crimean office of the Russian Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) in Simferopol on Tuesday.

Russia supports Ukraine's territorial integrity, Slutsky said. "We understand that all Russians cannot be evacuated from here, and we absolutely don't need this. Russians should be where they have lived from times immemorial and where they want to live further, rather then where all these Kyiv figures want to evict them," he said.

Slutsky admitted that this will not be an easy thing to do. "The reaction to us is very controversial. The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council is holding its session hosted by Oleksandr Turchynov now, and it is addressing exactly separatism in Crimea, particularly in Sevastopol. But I think you and we will find appropriate response measures on all these issues. We will work closer together with you, with all civil society organizations, in the cultural, humanitarian, and any other field," Slutsky said.

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada passed a resolution on February 22 on President Viktor Yanukovych's self-dissociation from performing his constitutional duties and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25, 2014. The decision was supported by 328 parliamentarians.

The Verkhovna Rada authorized its Chairman and interim President Oleksandr Turchynov on February 25 to sign into law bills passed between February 21 and the election of a new president.


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