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    Posted March 17, 2014 by
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

    MaiaKiev and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Ukraine crisis as it unfolds
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    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     MaiaKiev told us, 'Just like everybody else my family lives in a lot of tension. Now that referendum (even though illegal) gave Russia a formal excuse to go into more active military action. Mobilization of army reserves makes the possibility of war only more real.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    16th of March was the day many Ukrainians waited for with concern and dread. It was a day when illegally elected Prime Minister of Crimea Aksenov set for an illegal referendum in Crimea. Originally the referendum was planned for May 25th, then moved up to March 30th, then once again moved to March 16th.

    Prime Ministr Aksenov and Speaker of Crimean Parliament Constantinov were eager to accomplish the task Putin had given them – to provide Russia with some kind of excuse for military intervention that had in fact started on March 1st when Russian soldiers occupied Crimean peninsular without announcing war. In some interviews and comments Russian officials claimed that their army had the right to be in Crimea, in other interviews they denied the presence of their army in Crimea all together.

    Everything Putin and his propaganda say about Crimea is a lie:
    - Russian army having right to be in Crimea
    - Russian army not even being in Crimea
    - Russians needing Putin’s protection in Crimea from Ukrainian nationalists
    - Referendum being a way for people in Crimea to decide whether they want to be in Ukraine or join Russia

    Long before referendum took place the whole international community expressed concerns about this event. This kind of referendum violated Ukrainian Constitution. The presence of armed military, impossibility of international observers to even come to Crimea, much less watch the process of voting, kidnapping and beating of journalists who were also denied opportunity to observe the process of referendum – all that made it impossible to trust the results of referendum.

    Today to no surprise Prime Minister Aksenov reported that more than 80% of people in Crimea voted and 96,77% voted for Crimea to join Russia. My friends in Crimea are telling me that 80% participation is an absolute lie. There were not that many people voting. Crimean tatars have boycotted the referendum as many other people did, knowing that it was a farce and the results had no meaning whatsoever.

    The results themselves didn’t matter as everybody knew they would be forged. But the announcement of results signaled to the people of Ukraine that a quiet waiting period of our conflict with Russia is probably over. Even though United Nations, OSCE, EU, USA do not recognize results of referendum, Russia is still claiming that they would go ahead with joining Crimea to Russia. That decision is supposed to be made official on March 21st. On the same day Ukraine is going to sign political part of association with EU, which we know Putin absolutely doesn’t want to happen.

    So the tension has come up to higher levels. Ukrainian Parliament has announced partial mobilization of army reserves. The situation seems lacking logic (since Putin does whatever he wants ignoring international laws and international organizations that are supposed to prevent this kind of things from happening) and it’s hard to predict to what is next for all of us.

    Ukrainians are still not sure what to prepare for. Will our troops try to liberate Crimea from Russian invaders? Will Russian troops try to invade Eastern regions of Ukraine where Russian provocateurs have been trying to cause trouble too? Did Putin set his goals not just for Crimea, Eastern regions but the whole of Ukraine? Putin keeps talking about Ukraine as a failed state and Ukrainian government as not legitimate, though it’s recognized by all other countries in the world. Putin’s ambitions for restoring Soviet Union in the form of new Russian Empire are no secret. It’s hard to not be concerned if you live anywhere in Ukraine, or in Poland, or Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. Even Putin’s allies, Belarus and Kazakhstan are nervous!
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