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Euronews’ Cecilia Cacciotto spoke to our correspondents in Simferopol and Kyiv about the upcoming referendum in Crimea.
Cecilia Cacciotto, euronews
What is the atmosphere like ahead of the referendum?
Sergio Cantone, Simferopol
“The pro-Russians in Crimea are very enthusiastic about the poll. For them, the result is a foregone conclusion: Crimea will separate from Ukraine.
“But there’s also anger among opponents of the referendum, mostly within the Tatar communities. They’ve organised lots of small rallies throughout the region – more like flashmobs – to say ‘no’ to the ballot and ‘no’ to separation. They’re stressing they want to remain part of Ukraine as Kyiv is moving closer to the European Union.
“One of the most important things happening is that the Crimean regional government is taking over state-owned properties, such as gas companies. So, Kyiv’s power is no longer recognised by the local authorities.”
Thanks, Sergio. We’ll go now to Kyiv and our correspondent Maria Korenyuk.
Maria Korenyuk, Kyiv
“Two days before the referendum in Crimea officials in Kyiv say they will not recognise its result, because they don’t consider the vote legitimate.
“An extraordinary session of the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) is scheduled for Saturday. Then, according to the vice-speaker, the Ukrainian parliament will have the grounds to dissolve the Crimean parliament. This will be helped by the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the referendum is illegal.
“Meanwhile, a statement has appeared on the Party of Regions’ website, which is ex-president Viktor Yanukovych’s party.
“In the statement, members of the Party of Regions suggest a number of measures to solve the crisis in Ukraine.
“Firstly, they suggest the Russian language becomes the second official language. Secondly, they talk about the decentralisation of power in Ukraine.
“We haven’t heard any reaction to these suggestions from the Ukrainian government or members of other political parties. The only recent comment has come from the Ukrainian prime-minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who said Ukraine is ready to consider a greater level of autonomy for Crimea.”