Ukraine’s interim government is looking to crack down on the Crimea’s autonomous parliament today for its move toward secession, issuing arrest warrants for the region’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov as well as the speaker of parliament and several other MPs.
The courts are saying Aksyonov, the head of the Russian Unity Party, was “illegally appointed” to Crimean premier, and that it was likewise illegal to organize a referendum on secession from the Ukraine.
The Crimean parliament initially set the referendum for May, but Aksyonov pushed it up to the end of March, and today officials say it has been moved up against to March 16, in the hopes of avoiding a protracted standoff.
Crimean officials have been under pressure to agree to talks with the Ukrainian interim government about some settlement short of secession. The talks are almost certainly impossible now with every major Crimean leader facing immediate arrest if they leave the peninsula for anywhere else in the Ukraine.
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