Sevastopol Not Russian, Kiev Says

KIEV-- Parliament clamped down on pro-Moscow sentiment in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula Thursday, rescinding a decision by authorities in Sevastopol to proclaim the port Russian territory.


The debate, the first point on the agenda of a new session of the national parliament, prompted calls by some members to do away with the autonomy granted to the peninsula soon after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.


In Crimea, regional Prime Minister Yevgeny Saburov tendered his resignation. He said he could no longer work amid a constitutional battle pitting the region's president against its parliament.


The dispute culminated in Crimean President Yury Meshkov locking deputies out of parliament for two days this week. It has dented months of efforts by most Crimean politicians to loosen ties with Ukraine and move closer to Russia.


Deputies in the national parliament voted 303 to five to declare last month's proclamation by Sevastopol City Council null and void. The city council's move was largely symbolic but indicative of fierce pro-Russian sentiment in the region.


Alexander Lavrinovich of the nationalist Rukh faction, in a report to the chamber, described the proclamation as illegal. To loud applause, he said deputies had no choice but to rescind the decision unless they chose to dissolve the city council.


"There is no separate Sevastopol question, but rather that of Crimea as a whole," said radical nationalist Stepan Khmara.