Crimea should not be precedent, says German foreign minister

Photo: Crimea should not be precedent, says German foreign minister / Other News

China and Germany both have an interest in the Crimea issue not setting a precedent, Germany's foreign minister said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Monday in Beijing, as Moscow and Kiev edged closer to a military confrontation, Reuters reported.

"The developments in Ukraine are of great concern, and both China and Germany have an interest in ensuring that what we have seen in Crimea doesn't set a precedent," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

Over the weekend, armed separatists took control of a city in eastern Ukraine and Kiev prepared troops to tackle what it called an "act of aggression by Russia".

The West accuses Russia of destabilizing the region as a pretext to potentially sending in troops to protect the local Russian-speaking population, as it did in its annexation of Crimea.

A change of power took place in Ukraine on February 22.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.

Yanukovych said he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state.

A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.

The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.

With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.

On March 18, Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation.]

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