Russian parliamentary upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko spoke out in favor Friday for the referendum the Crimean parliament put forth to hold a vote on March 16 -- rescheduled to March 30 -- for its populace to decide whether to remain a part of Ukraine or join Russia.
"Deciding to hold referendum is a sovereign right of Crimea’s legitimately elected parliament ... the right of people to self-determination has not been abolished so far."
Matviyenko compared Crimea's referendum to the upcoming referendum for Scotland's independence, pointedly asking, "I wonder why no one said that a referendum on Scotland's independence... is a priori illegal. We have not heard such opinions. ... Then why should the people of Crimea be deprived of their right to legal self-determination?"
Ukrainian government leaders, including Justice Minister Petrenko, have denounced the Crimean parliament's resolution as unconstitutional and "illegal."
[ITAR-TASS News Agency]