Ukraine won't give up Crimea: acting FM

Deshchytsia calls on Ukrainian troops to show restraint

Deshchytsia calls on Ukrainian troops to show restraint

KIEV, Ukraine – Crimea is an inseparable part of Ukraine and will remain Ukrainian territory, the country’s acting foreign minister said Saturday.

Andrii Deshchytsia told a news conference in Kiev that the Ukrainian government supports a diplomatic solution to the conflict, which erupted after Russian and pro-Russian forces took control of strategic areas of Crimea following the removal of president Viktor Yanukovych.

Deshchytsia said that Ukraine would not give Crimea to anyone and would do everything possible to preserve its territorial integrity.

He also called on Ukrainian armed forces to show restraint and not give in to provocation.

Concerns over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea`s future remain high after the regional parliament voted to hold a referendum on March 16 to decide whether Crimea should join Russia.

The planned referendum has been condemned as "illegal" by both the United States and the European Union. The latter announced it would suspend visa talks with Russia.

Ukraine`s acting defense minister, Ihor Tenyukh, claimed on Saturday that around 18,000 Russian troops were on Crimean soil.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist ‘Right Sector’, said the crisis in Crimea should be resolved by diplomatic means.

"If the crisis escalates into an armed conflict, Crimea may be ruined just like Abkhazia," he said.

One of the leaders of the protests that toppled Yanukovych, Yarosh also declared that he would run for president in elections in May.

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