Ukrainian minister says planned Crimea referendum illegitimate

KIEV, March 6 Thu Mar 6, 2014 6:14am EST

KIEV, March 6 (Reuters) - Ukraine's economy minister said on Thursday a referendum on Crimea's status that is planned by the region's recently installed pro-Russian leaders would be illegitimate.

"My position is that this referendum is unconstitutional," the minister, Pavlo Sheremeta, told reporters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, reiterating the government's stance following a decision by Crimea's new leaders to bring the referendum forward by two weeks to March 16.

The deputy speaker of the regional parliament in Crimea said the referendum would ask voters whether they want to be part of the Russian Federation.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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