Russian deputies to monitor Crimean referendum

At least 25 State Duma deputies will be monitoring the Crimean referendum.

At least 25 State Duma deputies will be monitoring the Crimean referendum.

"Members of all the four parliament groups will be present in the observation mission," a source from the lower house of the Russian parliament told Interfax on Wednesday.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky will lead the State Duma delegation.

The Russian deputies will depart for Simferopol on Saturday, the day before the referendum.

The observation mission of the Federation Council will be no less sizable, the source said.

The Crimean Supreme Council adopted a declaration of independence on Tuesday. The March 16 referendum asks two questions: one about the accession of the autonomous republic and Sevastopol to Russia as its new constituent and the other about Crimea remaining within Ukraine with broader autonomous powers.

The State Duma said Moscow would not have to adopt new laws if the majority of Crimean residents wished to join Russia. Existent laws allow making Crimea a part of Russia on the basis of referendum.

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