Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s interim prime minister, believes the upcoming referendum in Crimea will inevitably result in the population rejecting Ukrainian rule, but remained adamant that the country will do all that it can to protect its territorial integrity.
“(It) seems to me that this referendum is already pre-ordered and that we can easily predict the outcome,” he told CNBC in New York late Thursday.
“But Russia is to stick to the charter and to its international obligations.”
The Crimean population is likely to vote along ethnic lines, which would mean that the majority Russian-speaking population would dominate in the referendum. Yatsenyuk’s comments came after a standoff between himself and a Russian diplomat in front of the United Nations on Thursday. The Ukrainian leader urged Russia to move towards negotiations to try to end the tensions in the eastern European country. Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told the emergency meeting that Moscow does not want war with Ukraine.