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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crimeans Seek Dual Citizenship

SIMFEROPOL -- Ukraine's Crimean peninsula reaffirmed its separatist intentions on Thursday by asking Kiev to allow dual citizenship in the semi-autonomous region.

The Crimean parliament voted 62-3 in favour of a formal request to the Ukrainian parliament for constitutional and legislative changes so that Crimea could make dual citizenship arrangements with other countries. It rejected an amendment saying Crimea's people, 70 percent of whom are ethnic Russians, would automatically be citizens of Ukraine.

Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in a March 27 plebiscite in favour of dual citizenship and many want the region to reunite with Moscow.

"Dual citizenship is the only possible decision to resolve many Crimean problems," said Sergei Nikulin, head of the parliament's legislation commission.

"This is a middle ground between the desire of many Crimeans and reality. And the reality is, Crimea is still within the legal framework of Ukraine."

But the parliamentary decision appeared certain to meet strong resistance from officials in Kiev, who view Crimean seperatism as a threat to Ukraine's fragile statehood.

Ukraine's new President Leonid Kuchma, whom Crimean leaders say will be more flexible towards Crimea than his predecessor, said this week he opposed dual citizenship.