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Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:5PM
Russian flags wave in front of the Crimean parliament during a rally in Simferopol, Ukraine. (File photo)

Russian flags wave in front of the Crimean parliament during a rally in Simferopol, Ukraine. (File photo)

The Crimean parliament is to nationalize Ukrainian state companies on its territory, including offshore rigs, the region’s first deputy prime minister says.

Rustam Temirgaliev said Wednesday that authorities of Ukraine's autonomous Crimea region are to nationalize Ukrainian assets in the next few days and that the move will not affect private companies.

"The property of state companies, including resource-extracting companies such as Chernomorneftegaz, and other state companies such as Ukrzaliznitsya and some state-run health resorts will become property of the Republic of Crimea in the near future," said Temirgaliev.

In addition, Crimea's first deputy premier said that Ukrainian banks would be registered as foreign banks and Russian banks have already begun planning on opening offices in Crimea.

The announcement comes a day after Crimean lawmakers voted to endorse a declaration of independence, which was required by law to hold a secession referendum on March 16.

The heads of Russia's two houses of parliament have said they would support Crimea if it votes to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

However, the interim government in Kiev has described the planned vote as “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate”. The United States and the European Union (EU) have also rejected the planned referendum as illegal.

The autonomous region of Crimea has become the flashpoint for tensions since Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month following three months of street protests and violent unrest in the capital Kiev and other cities.

Ukraine has been gripped by a political crisis since November 2013, when Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.


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