Ukraine Parliament declares Crimea temporarily occupied territory

Kiev: The Ukrainian parliament Tuesday passed a bill declaring the southern Crimea peninsula as “territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation”, the parliament’s press service said.

The new law, which establishes a special legal regime in Crimea, garnered 228 votes in the 450-seat assembly, Xinhua reported.

The legislation said Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, and airspace and territorial waters surrounding them are considered as an integral part of Ukraine.

The law imposes travel restrictions on visiting Crimea, requiring tourists to obtain special permits for entering the peninsula.

According to the legislation, state and private properties in Crimea, including offshore oil and natural gas platforms, will stay under the proprietorship of their current owners.

Contrary to local analysts’ expectations, the law does not envisage a ban on economic and business activities in Crimea.

On March 17, the Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine, after results from a peninsula-wide referendum showed 96.77 percent of Crimean voters favoring joining Russia.

A day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty accepting the Crimea republic and the city of Sevastopol as part of Russian territory.

Kiev has rejected the referendum and Crimea’s integration into Russia, saying it was unconstitutional.