Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea should not be denied the right to hold a referendum on its future, and a decision to be adopted at such a referendum will be more legitimate than those made by protest forces in Kyiv's Independence Square (Maidan), the chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said.

"We have been told that the Maidan can be a source of power - the people's will. Why can the people's will not be a source of power and self-determination in Crimea? In my opinion, it [Crimea] cannot be denied this right," Pushkov told reporters on Friday, when commenting on the chances for Crimea's referendum.

In any case, such a referendum will be a more legitimate form of changing Crimea's status than, for example, the "spontaneous Maidan," he said.

"No vote was held in Ukraine concerning the demands put forth by the Maidan. It means that the Maidan's demands lack any legislative foundation. In effect, a whole number of decisions were adopted at gunpoint. This largely explains the conduct of [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych, who found himself under enormous pressure," the Russian parliamentarian said.

"If such a referendum is held in Crimea, it will offer an absolutely justified foundation, both from a legal and judicial standpoint, for changing its status if the majority of the population votes for it," Pushkov said.

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