According to Ukraine Liveblog Russian officials have arrived in Sevastopol on the Crimea peninsula and are preparing to issue passports.
The following translation appeared earlier today on the blog:
Russian State Duma deputies have arrived in Simferopol. The delegation is headed by Leonid Slutsky, head of the committee on the CIS. Russians promise to simply the issuance of passports to Crimeans.
Report summarizing their statements from Oleg Kryuchkov of censor.net.ua:
“Russia is starting to give out passports under a simplified procedure. Russia demands the fulfillment of the conditions of the agreements between the opposition and Yanukovych. And the main thing is that in the event of a decision of the Crimeans to have a referendum, or an appeal to the Supreme Council of the Crimea to Russia with a request to annex…Russia will review this question very quickly. Tsekov and Aksyonov mumbled, spoke about integrity and the Russian Word festival.”
This is a similar procedure the Russians initiated before the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict in 2008. Abkhazians received passports well ahead of Georgia’s invasion and Russia’s military response.
#Ukraine: meanwhile in #Crimea Russian seperatists raised the flag of #Russia on the city council of Sevastopol pic.twitter.com/Dd5uk43hB8
— Thomas van Linge (@arabthomness) February 24, 2014