An extraordinary session of the Crimean Tatar congress convened Saturday, with delegates voicing their intention to adopt a resolution to establish an autonomous territory within Crimea.
The decision to declare autonomy was prompted by the Crimean government's order that Crimean Tatars relinquish their land to the government, now part of Russia.
Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev told RIA Novosti "We have asked the Crimean Tatars to vacate part of their land, which is required for social needs... But we are ready to allocate and legalize many other plots of land to ensure a normal life for the Crimean Tatars."
Chairman of the Majilis of Crimean Tatars Refat Chubaron, while announcing the resolution, condemned Russia's incursion into Crimea and voiced the Tatars' determination to remain in Crimea.
"By adopting this document, we inform all parties of the beginning of political and legal procedures for setting up a national autonomous territory of the Crimean Tatar people on their historical territory in Crimea... It is doubtless, however, that not a single party should have the right to trample on the Crimean Tatar people's inalienable and natural right to determine their fate and their future on their historical territory in Crimea on their own... Despite the fact that Crimea is having hard times today, we should not leave Crimea."
The congress, which met in Bakhch y sarai, was attended by 250 delegates.
[RIA Novosti] [Interfax Ukraine News Agency]