Crimea reportedly tries to ban Tatar leader from the region

Photo: Crimea reportedly tries to ban Tatar leader from the region / Politics

Ukrainian MP and former Crimean parliament speaker Cemil Kirimoglu warned on Saturday that there would be costs to denying him entry into Crimea, amid reports the Crimean parliament moved to ban Ukrainian MPs who voted in favor of its dissolution, Anadolu agency reported.

Kirimoglu told the Anadolu Agency it was "nonsensical" to bar him from entering the peninsula.

"If the so-called Crimean administration denies me entry, they will pay for it; let them be ready for surprises," Kirimoglu said.

Ukrainian MPs voted to dissolve the Crimean parliament a week ago ahead of a referendum to join Russia, which has since led Moscow to annex Crimea in a move that is not recognized by Ukraine or the international community.

Kirimoglu added that he contacted members of the Crimean parliament to verify if they had made the alleged move to bar Ukrainian MPs.

He said the Crimean MPs told him they were not "stupid enough" to take such a decision. "We know what would happen in (Crimea) if we took this decision," Kirimoglu quoted them as saying, without giving any names.

The head of foreign affairs in Crimean Tatar national assembly, Ali Hamzin, told the agency that the Crimean Parliament must issue a statement repudiating such claims. Hamzin said such a decision would create an "unpredictable" environment in the peninsula.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the annexation of Ukraine's strategic peninsula of Crimea. The move followed a March 16 referendum in Crimea where around 97% of voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The United States, the European Union and Ukraine regard the vote as "illegitimate."

The Crimean Tatars make up roughly 13 percent of Crimea's 2.1 million people. They were deported en masse to Central Asia by Moscow in 1944 before being allowed to return to their homeland in the late 1980s as the Soviet Union began to collapse.

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