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If Scotland independence recognised, Crimea wants the same

10 september 2014, 19:18

 Crimea's Kremlin-loyal leader on Wednesday said that if the world recognises an independent Scotland, then it should also offer similar recognition to the Black Sea peninsula which has joined Russia, AFP reports.

Acting regional head Sergei Aksyonov said that the West would have "no other option" but to back Crimea's move to break away from Ukraine, if it also accepts a Scottish vote to split from the United Kingdom.

The Scottish referendum on whether to break from its 300-year-old union is being held on September 18, with polls showing both sides in a dead heat.

Crimea split from Ukraine and joined Russia after a disputed referendum in March.

"If in any country the majority of the population (of a region) take a decision about their independent statehood then I personally support this," Aksyonov was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency.

"The people living in a particular place better understand the processes that are happening there and it is their right to take such a decision," he said.

The Kremlin annexed Crimea from Ukraine after deploying troops to take over the region and steer through the referendum, in which a large majority voted to join Russia.

Moscow argues it had acted to defend the rights of the region's Russian-speaking population following the ouster of Ukraine's Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych.

But the international community has refused to recognise the annexation of Crimea, with only a handful of Kremlin allies accepting the move.

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