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Ukraine: Pro-Russian Crimean Parliament Defies Kyiv

Simferopol, 29 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - The pro-Russian parliament in Ukraine's autonomous Crimean Peninsula defied Kyiv today and approved an earlier vote to remove the local government from office.

The parliament, which accuses the government of Prime Minister Arkady Demidenko of being too close to Kyiv, originally passed the motion on January 23. Yesterday, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma suspended the vote by decree.

Today, however, the deputies confirmed the move in a new vote and called on parliament speaker Vassily Kiselev to "raise the government's resignation with President Kuchma".

The Crimea peninsula, which has a mostly Russian population, was incorporated into Ukraine by Soviet authorities in 1954. Under the constitution the Ukrainian head of state must approve the resignation of the Crimean government.