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Search Grid For MH370 Size Of Australia; President Putin Recognizes Crimean Referendum; Flight Deviation For MH370 Preprogrammed, According To New York Times; Leading Women: Gail Kelly
Aired March 18, 2014 - 8:10 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU SOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And this is News Stream.
Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is pressing ahead to bring Ukraine's Crimea region into Russia. He has signed the papers, Ukraine and the west do not recognize the Crimean referendum. The U.S. and EU have earlier slapped sanctions on some Russian and Ukrainian political figures in response.
Just moments ago, Vladimir Putin told Russia's parliament that Crimea has always been part of Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): It's well Crimea then ended up in a different state than Russia (inaudible) that did not just been taken away, it had been robbed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: The Russian parliament is expected to hold a vote in the coming days.
Now Ukraine's leaders are not recognizing that vote in Crimea. The country's president says he wants to solve the crisis diplomatically. But on Monday, he mobilized some of Ukraine's armed forces. the prime minister says there is a strong possibility of a Russian invasion.
Now a little bit later, I'll take you to Kiev to get the reaction there live.
Now to another one of our top stories this hour. It has been already 11 days since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. And the lack of answers from investigators has led to a growing temptation to fill in the blanks. So let's resist the speculation and highlight what we know.
Now the entire search area has now increased to 2.25 million square nautical miles. Just to put that into perspective for you, it is the same size of all of Australia.
Now teams from 26 nations are taking part in the search with Malaysia still coordinating the effort.
Now China and Kazakhstan have agreed to lead in the northern corridor, largely over land. Indonesia and Australia lead in the south, mostly in the Indian Ocean.
Now Malaysian authorities say both corridors are considered equally important. And they are now seeking assets with deep ocean detection capabilities to assist in the search.
Well, a bit later in the show, we will explore the plausibility of recent theories that have emerged about the fate of the missing plane. But Malaysia's acting transport minister says the plane itself holds the real answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, ACTING MALAYSIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: I believe if we can find the aircraft soon (inaudible) with a black box, most of these questions that are being speculated around the world would be answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: But as the days past, that search, it grows more and more difficult.
Saima Mohsin joins me now live from Kuala Lumpur with more. And Saima, the search area has been widened much, much further. What's being done to search such a huge area?
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDEN: Yeah, this operation gets bigger and bigger, Kristie and a vast area to cover. I went out there last week on a C-130 plane with the Malaysian minister, chief of defense force. And at that point, they were trying to cover just on the west of Malaysia just over 12,000 square nautical miles. That's now gone up to 2.24 million square nautical miles, a huge area to cover. And what are they doing to cover that? Well, of course there's dozens of countries involved in this search and rescue operation. They're still calling it that search and rescue operation.
They're dedicating aircraft, helicopters, ships to that, and of course hundreds of people in the air and sailors on the seas as well looking out.
Now, I'm told what they're using are advanced surface search radars. Now these are radars that can look over vast areas of the sea. And they have such a huge expanse to cover. And electro-optical sensors sending out these signals, trying to search for any kind of debris.
And of course aside from all this technology that they have at their hand, that they simply also have traditional methods, looking out, trying to see can we spot anything. And we've also been told that the ministry of agriculture has also now teamed up with the ministry of defense and the search and rescue operation trying to get fisherman on board. They're out there day and night. These are the best people to have to help them as a support network for this search and rescue operation -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: So both low tech and high tech means being employed here just to find this missing plane 11 days out. Investigators have also been looking into the background of those onboard to find out any sort of motive that will lead to the disappearance of this plane.
Now Saima, I know that you spoke to family members of an aviation specialist who was on the missing plane. What did you learn?
MOHSIN: Yeah, this is a young man, 29-years-old, called Harold Umree (ph). He's an aviation engineer. And he worked with a private jet company. He would travel around the world facing Kuala Lumpur, but would go out to China. He'd go out to Australia, Canada and according to his father to repair private jets.
Now of course anyone with aviation expertise will be of high priority and particular interest at this stage. 11 days now, heading into it's dark here, an 11th night in Kuala Lumpur since the flight MH 370 has gone missing. So Harold Umree (ph), the 29-year-old man is of interest.
And of course he's not the only person, everyone on board flight MH 370 is being investigated.
But seemingly, Kristie, I've spoken to his family. He seems like an average person. His father told us that he has a young son, just 1 year old. He married his childhood sweetheart and followed his passion to become an aviation engineer.
When I -- we asked his father about these allegations or potential allegations, he said, look, I am convinced my son is not involved in this disappearance. Should investigators want to question me or my family, they are welcome to -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Saima Mohsin, live from KL, reporting on the search for the plane and the search for answers. Thank you, Saima.
Now the New York Times reports that the plane's path was altered in flight on a computer system in the cockpit.
Now the CEO of Malaysia Airlines says that the missing airliner was originally programmed to fly to Beijing, but he admits anything is possible once you are in the aircraft.
So let's go inside a cockpit simulator. CNN's Martin Savidge has been spending time in one near Toronto, Canada. And he's joined by pilot Mitchell Cosada who trains pilots to fly Boeing 777s.
Martin, thank you so much for joining me. The New York Times report saying that the plane's path was altered by computer. You know, that begs the question, how skilled would the pilot have to be to reprogram the plane?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ...who knows how to operate an FMS, that's this thing here, a flight management system. You might want to call it a computer, and the reality is your smartphone is probably smarter than this thing. But it's a very specialized calculator. And as a result of this piece of avionics hardware, it's been able to replace a navigator. You don't need one of those on board. You also don't need an engineer, this does a lot of flying of the aircraft itself.
And what it specifically does is guide this aircraft through the sky to get it where you want to be.
In this case, we programmed it to take us from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. All along the way are the various waypoints. This was all set up before we left the ground.
However -- and Mitchell can talk about this -- it can be reprogrammed, couldn't it, by somebody who knew what they were doing.
MITCHELL COSADA, PILOT TRAINER: Absolutely.
So just to give you an example, this is the route that we're following here. And I'm going to program -- so we're heading on course, and I'm just going to deviate to the left, like they're claiming the Malaysian airliner did. And I'm just going to punch in a waypoint here. And it's a simple keystroke thing. You put it into the flight plane, you execute it and the airplane is now deviating to that waypoint.
SAVIDGE: and we should point out here, Kristie is that this is a very significant course change we've made. We're actually having the aircraft veer off on the way to Beijing and now turning in the direction that it was reported in the New York Times.
But it's very subtle. If you were a passenger on board this plane, especially late at night, you wouldn't really notice this change. The aircraft does it slowly, does it smoothly, there's no jarring motion or anything alarming about it. And it's done with just a couple of keystrokes -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: This is called the flight management system. And to alter it would take a lot of skill. So Martin, what does the reprogramming indicate to you?
SAVIDGE: Well, I mean Mitchell and I were talking about this yesterday about how it would be simple that somebody could put in an alternate route and thereby sometime during their flight say, all right, now we switch to plan b. It does imply, of course, that this is somebody who had a devious plane...
COSADA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you're deviating off course and you're not letting the guys on the ground know, there's a reason for that. And it's designed to be simple to use for the pilots, because they obviously want to be flying the airplane, not spending their time staring at this thing. But at the same time, it takes training to use it. So somebody had to know what they were doing.
SAVIDGE: Now the ground was aware of it. The aircraft actually reported the course change automatically. It was done through something else called the ACARS system that's built into this.
So they were alerted on the ground. Now whether anybody was really paying attention or not we don't know. And the transponder had been turned off, so they weren't seeing it on radar.
LU STOUT: The ACARS system talks to folks on the ground, et cetera, but if the flight path through that onboard computer system was altered midflight, would there be any alerts sent back to ground control?
COSADA: Would the flight plan -- I'm sorry, what was that?
SAVIDGE: She was saying that if the flight plane had been altered like this by the computer, would there have been an alert sent to the ground?
COSADA: Well, not an alert, but if anyone was paying attention, like they should have been, then they would have known that that's not the course that they're supposed to be on, because air traffic controllers have the flight plane and they know you're supposed to be going right. If you're going left, there's something wrong.
It wouldn't be an alarm, but they would know. They would be cognizant of the situation.
SAVIDGE: Yeah, somebody should have recognized it.
LU STOUT: All right, got the answer there. Martin Savidge, thank you so much, very, very illuminating stuff. Martin Savidge reporting live from inside the cockpit of the simulator of a Boeing 777 located inside Canada there.
Martin that was very, very instructive, thank you.
Now we're going to take a closer look at the mindset of the pilots next and how closely airlines check their psychological state. That story just ahead.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.
Now authorities have said that they are investigating all 239 people who are on board, most were Chinese nationals. And China says that it's found no evidence tying them to terrorism.
Now the pilot and first officer, both Malaysian, have come under particular scrutiny. Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are a focus of the investigation. Their homes have been searched, but, so far, there is no evidence in the backgrounds of the pilots to suggest any wrongdoing.
Still, Malaysia Airlines' CEO says everyone in the cockpit undergoes routine psychological tests.
AHMAD JAUHARI YAHYA, CEO, MALAYSIA AIRLINES: Going forward, we will obviously look into all this and see whether we can strengthen, tighten all the various, we call entry requirements.
TODD : Current and former pilots tell us the level of psychological screening for pilots depends on their airlines and its governing body. 777 pilot Les Abend says his airline asked questions about his personality.
LES ABEND, BOEING 777 PILOT: Do you like your mother? Do you hate your father? You know, things of that nature. You know, have you ever harmed a small animal.
TODD: Abend says some airlines interview the pilot's friends to see if they've got psychological or emotional issues. He says many U.S. based airlines go above and beyond what's required by the government. The FAA has strict rules saying pilots have to get psychological screening as part of their medical exam every year or six months. They can't fly if they've bipolar disorder or similar problems.
Some medications are banned. But some pilots say medical screeners don't always ask about psychological issues. And it's often up to pilots to report those and report any medications they're taking.
MARK WEISS, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: If he or she doesn't self-report, what happens? If you don't self-report, it's -- completely it's gone unnoticed. Typically what happens is if you have an issue one of your crew members might recognize something like that.
TODD: Do the airlines check on pilots to see if anything has come up in their personal lives that might cause concern? Financial problems? Maybe a worrisome illness in the family?
ABEND: The short answer is no, not until it becomes -- it affects your job performance and -- you know, if you missed a trip for a particular reason.
TODD: Abend says if airlines started doing that, privacy concerns would be raised. Does this mean there's a dangerous gap in the system?
WEISS: Pilots are for the most part are very mentally stable, very sound people, very determined, very professional. I don't think that you're going to need or have to have the criteria tightened up.
TODD: Mark Weiss also points out many commercial pilots come straight to those jobs from the military where they've already gotten regular psychological screening.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: This is News Stream. And after the break we have more on the missing Malaysia airliner. It has been 11 days, but we still know so little. And the families of those on board are finding it tougher than ever to cope.
Also ahead, Ukraine partly mobilizes its armed forces after the southern Crimea region votes to exit Ukraine and join Russia. We'll take you live to Kiev for the latest on the tense political situation there.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has widened dramatically. Crews are now combing an area measuring some 2.25 million square nautical miles. Now China and Kazakhstan have agreed to lead in the northern corridor while Indonesia and Australia lead in the south. Malaysia is still coordinating the overall effort.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty with Crimea's leaders and the Kremlin says it now considers Crimea part of Russia. Now the Russian parliament is set to vote on the issue. Putin told lawmakers that the result of this weekend's referendum was extremely convincing. But Ukraine says the vote is illegal.
The long time girlfriend of rock legend Mick Jagger is dead. Now 49- year-old L'Wren Scott apparently committed suicide by hanging, Mick Jagger's spokesman says the rock star is completely shocked and devastated by the news. And the Rolling Stones have canceled Wednesday's convert in Perth, Australia.
Now as mentioned, the search area for flight 370 has widened dramatically. And now Malaysia is asking for deep ocean surveillance tools to help.
It has been 11 days since the plane disappeared with 239 people on board. More than two dozen countries are trying to find them. And new radar data from Thailand reinforces the belief that the jet turned sharply west after communication was lost.
Now there's this report in the New York Times that says that the plane's route was reprogrammed through a computer system by somebody in the cockpit. It cites unidentified American officials.
Now for the families of those on board the missing plane, the long wait for answers has been excruciatingly difficult. Most of the passengers are from China. And CNN's Pauline Chiou joins me live from Beijing.
Pauline, again, it's 11 days out since this plane disappeared. What impact is the sustained search having on all the families there?
PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is so incredibly difficult for them, Kristie. Imagine having a loved one on that plane and then being told that the search area has expanded once again to the size of Australia.
Now when this announcement was made at that news conference a few hours ago, one of the family members staying at this hotel behind me texted me. His mother is on that plane. And he said they need more information or the search is aimless. And he said they should know where the plane is by now. They shouldn't be searching the entire ocean. So so much frustration here among these families.
Now earlier today, emotions ran high once again at a briefing between family members and airline representatives. And one mother stood up and made this passionate plea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We only have one child. We are respectful Chinese people. It's hard to control your emotions when you might have lost your loved ones. We just need the truth. Don't use them as political pawns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: And we have to remember that China does have the one child policy, so many of the younger people on this plane, sons and daughters, are the only children of these families, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, absolutely heartbreaking to hear that mother's plea. She, everyone else, they want answers. They want answers, they want to find this plane. Let's talk about the search for that and what role is China taking to search inside its own borders?
CHIOU: Well, china has been helping from the beginning. But today they did announce that they're beefing up their resources. And they have no deployed 10 ships, several aircraft as well as 21 Chinese satellites. Now that's up from 10 satellites that we knew of earlier this week. And this is in order to enhance any sort of images that they have of any signs of possibly the plane during this -- in this whole search area.
Now China and Kazakhstan are taking the lead in that northern corridor. And if you look at that arc, it does take up a huge portion of western China. So the government today saying they are beefing up their resources, especially since most of the people on that plane are Chinese citizens.
LU STOUT: And also, Pauline, investigators have been looking into whether people on board were involved. So what did China say earlier today about the background of the Chinese passengers?
CHIOU: Yeah, that's right. There are 154 passengers that are Chinese citizens. And the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia today said that the government has checked out all of the backgrounds of those 154 people and there is no evidence to show any sort of link to terrorism, or sabotage. And a lot of people have been asking how can China know this so soon? How can they go through the records of so many people in just 11 days?
But keep in mind that the Chinese government has put a lot of resources into monitoring its own people in order to maintain social stability in this huge country, so it's not unheard of to be able to tap into those resources and to get information about each individual quite easily -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Pauline Chiou reporting live from Beijing for us. Thank you so much for that update.
And we have a special section on our website, it's devoted to the missing Malaysian airliner. You can learn more about the passengers who range in age from infancy to age 76. Or you can explore these maps, which show you what we know about the bath of flight 370. Find it all at CNN.com.
Now, the man whose incredible survival story made headlines last month is fulfilling the dying wish of his former shipmate.
Now Jose Salvador Alvarenga washed up in the Marshall Islands after more than a year adrift at sea. Now his companion in that boat did not survive the trip. And Alvarenga has now paid an emotional visit to the mother of that young man. CNN's Rafael Romo has the story.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the promise he made to a dying man to go visit his mother and tell her in person how his friend had died and share with her his last words.
Still walking slowly, but now speaking fluently, Jose Salvador Alvarenga flew from San Salvador to Mexico where he was to meet his friend's family in the coastal town of El Fortin (ph).
"It's a promise that we both had made, and now I'm here to fulfill it," he said after landing in Mexico City.
The 37-year-old fisherman appeared in the Marshall Islands in late January and told authorities there he had drifted on a small fishing boat for 13 months all the way from Mexico, more than 6,000 miles away.
23-year-old Ezequiel Cordova, his companion, had died four weeks into the ordeal, Alvarenga said, because he couldn't manage to drink turtle blood and eat raw fish.
ROSALIA DIAZ, EZEQUIEL CORDOVA'S MOTHER (through translator): For me, it would have been sadder if both had died, because I would have never known what happened to my son. So I'm very happy to see him again.
ROMO: Alvarenga says Cordova would often talk about his mother.
JOSE SALVADOR ALVARENGA, SALVADORAN CASTAWAY (through translator): He told me a lot about her, that she was a very good person with everybody and that she was very loving.
ROMO: Alvarenga also told Cordova's mother how the two fishermen spent the time while drifting in the open sea. Cordova, an evangelical Christian, told the Salvadoran fisherman about his faith. They would pray and sing together, Alvarenga says, as they both clinged to the hope of being found alive and rescued in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
ALVARENGA (through translator): He taught me how to pray. He taught me how to sing. I would ask him if he went to church, and he said yes. Since he was a little boy he would go with his mother and step father.
ROMO: Alvarenga says there are things Cordova told him that only the dead fisherman's mother must know. To reveal them publicly, he said, would be to betray his memory.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
LU STOUT: This is News Stream. And ahead on the program, designer L'Wren Scott led a glamorous and seemingly charmed life. Now questions now why this ended in tragedy.
LU STOUT: This is a great story. From bank teller to CEO. Now Gail Kelly shot up the ranks in Australia's finance sector. Now leads one of the country's biggest banks. On this week's Leading Women, she tells Nina Dos Santos the secrets.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Australia's business sector she's a standout for many reasons.
GAIL KELLY, CEO, WESTPAC: Profit that we make go back into the community by dividends and by investment into our business.
SANTOS: Her role as head of the country's second largest bank has self assurance and even her platinum hair.
KELLY: Often really what you need is someone who will believe in you, who will encourage you to believe in yourself.
SANTOS: She's Westpac's chief executive Gail Kelly at the helm of a company with nearly 40,000 employees.
So how would you describe your own personal management style, because there's nobody really managing you at the helm of the organization.
KELLY: Oh, no, there's -- you know, I have lots of people managing me. Firstly, there's a chairman and a board. And secondly, there's that whole stakeholder group out there and the responsibility that I carry to my employees and to my customers and shareholders.
But my own style -- firstly, I am an optimistic and I'm a positive person. The other element of style and again perhaps unusual for a banking CEO to talk about is this element of generosity of spirit. I truly believe that you want to create an environment where people can perform best. And for that, you want to avoid cynicism, you want to avoid negative messaging.
SANTOS: Kelly steps into the top job in 2008 following a successful run as the CEO of another Australian bank, which Westpac ultimately acquired. Kelly oversaw that acquisition.
KELLY: Thank you very much, everyone. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
SANTOS: Gail Kelly's story sounds to many like a fairy tale, a young South African woman starts as a bank teller in 1980 and later goes on to become a CEO, all the while juggling a marriage and four children. But in her case, the story is all true.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Do you remember?
KELLY: You know, it's a great question. My father was very keen for me to be whatever I dreamed of. And he had visions of, you know, doctor, lawyer, engineer, you know flying to the moon, those were the days of course. From a really early age, I wanted to be a teacher. I loved my own school and thought this is the way I'd like to spend my time.
SANTOS: Yeah, then you made the change, right, you went into banking.
KELLY: I went into banking here, that was almost more by accident than by design. I needed to do some work, wasn't sure what I could do, and landed up falling into banking, started as a teller in Nedcor Bank in Johannesburg.
SANTOS: After more than a decade in the banking sector in South Africa, Kelly and her family moved to Australia in 1997 where her star continued to rise in the industry.
KELLY: Oh, well, yeah, I've had a lot of luck along the way. And I worked for great organizations, I have to say. Nedcor Bank was just outstanding the way they supported me all the way through my career, gave me great opportunities.
SANTOS: How important do you think it is to recognize your capabilities and limits, by the way?
KELLY: Oh, very important to have a self-awareness, it's absolutely a fundamental leadership capability to be aware of your strengths and your limitations and to work on those limitations, obviously, but also to complement and supplement for them.
LU STOUT: From Gail Kelly there.
Now each month Leading Women connects you to some extraordinary women of our time. You can learn more about their amazing careers by logging on to our special series website, CNN.com/leadingwomen.
Now stay with us right here on News Stream. Just ahead, a breakthrough on what we know about the birth of the universe. We might have more insight on the big bang theory from a new scientific discovery. Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And let's return to the situation in Ukraine. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make the region of Crimea part of Russia. Now Crimea held a referendum on Sunday and the overwhelming majority of voters chose to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
Now that move was met by sanctions from the west on some Russian and Ukrainian political figures.
Now western powers say -- in Ukraine, they both say that the vote was illegal.
I want to take you live to Kiev now. CNN's Ivan Watson is following events on the ground for us. And he joins me now. And Ivan, Vladimir Putin, he spoke about an hour ago. He called Crimea an inalienable part of Russia. He criticized the interim government. What is Kiev thinking right now?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Ukrainian interim authorities, they insist that Crimea was, is, and will always be part of Ukrainian territory. When I spoke with the prime minister of Ukraine in an interview yesterday he said that he feared that Russia might seek to invade other parts of Ukraine. I asked him what he thought could be a solution for this crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, INTERIM PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: This is the question that has no easy answer. Because, you know, we need to find out how to respond on these acts that Russia is making and how to find an appropriate solution of the crisis like we have, that's what was you who indicated the most difficult existential crisis not only within the borders of Ukraine, but in the entire Europe. So if they move military, can we do like that? Is it an appropriate response? Not sure. We don't need another third World War.
WALSH: Are we on the verge of a new war in Europe?
YATSENYUK: We are on the brink of the disaster, but brink is not the disaster. We still have a chance to be peaceful and diplomatic solution. So I would say that military power on the Russian side and on the other side, on the side of the European Union on the side of the U.S. it has to be strength and wisdom.
We need to take, to undertake all tools and to use all tools and measures in order to stop Russia from violating international law and stop Russia from the military intervention into my country. So we welcome everything that can fix this crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: And Kristie, the Ukrainian government here clearly feeling the threat -- the Ukrainian people and the government are clearly feeling a threat from Russia. They have partially mobilized the military and national guard. And you see on Ukrainian TV more and more pictures of Ukrainian tanks and armor on the move. This is a country that's quite afraid right now -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Ivan Watson there reporting live from Kiev. Thank you.
Now right now, Britain's House of Commons is debating the situation in Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary William Hague is speaking. Let's listen in.
WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Free from external pressure or interference. Second, we have a vital interest in the upholding of international law and the United Nations charter, the honoring of treaties and the maintenance of a rules based international system. Russia's actions in Crimea run roughshod across all of these fundamental principles and threatened the future of Ukraine. I pay tribute, Mr. Speaker, to the extraordinary restraint shown by the Ukrainian government, it's military forces, and its people in the face of immense provocation with part of their country invaded and tens of thousands of forces massed on their border by a neighbor that refuses to rule out further military intervention against them.
There is a grave danger of a provocation elsewhere in Ukraine that becomes a pretext for further military escalation. We are working urgently to agree the mandate of an expanded OSCE monitoring mission to all parts of the country in the coming days.
On Friday, I met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov before their bilateral talks here in London. Russia was presented with a series of proposals to deescalate the crisis and to address the situation in Crimea. After six hours of talks, Russia rebuffed these efforts and on Sunday the referendum went ahead.
The Crimean authorities claimed a turnout of 83 percent of the population with 96.8 percent voting in favor of joining Russia. Yesterday, the parliament of Crimea formally applied to join the Russian Federation and President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign state.
He has now announced in the last two hours new laws to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation.
It was regrettable. I'll give away one (inaudible) complete of this passage of my speech, it was regrettable to hear President Putin today choosing the route of isolation, denying the citizens of his own country and of Crimea, partnership with the international community and full membership of a range of international organizations and Russia's right to help shape the 21st Century in a positive manner.
Now amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact that this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land grab of part of its territory with no respect for the law of that country or for international law.
I'll just complete this point and then I'll give way, of course, to one of my honorable friends. The referendum was clearly illegal under the Ukrainian constitution which states that the autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral constituent part of Ukraine, can only resolve issues related to its authority within the provisions of the constitution and that only the Ukrainian parliament has the right to call such referendums.
I give way to my old friend from Norfolk Mr. (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very grateful for giving away (inaudible) in his speech. But would he agree with me, also, but any referendum held at the barrel of a gun and on an electoral roll that is manifested not fit for purpose really cannot be taken seriously?
HAGUE: Yes, this was a vote in circumstance of Crimea's occupied by over 20,000 Russian troops. And indeed the meeting of the Crimean parliament which announced the referendum was itself controlled by unidentified armed gunmen and took place behind locked doors. I give way to the honorable member.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
So does the foreign secretary acknowledge that there are legitimate and acceptable ways to pursue constitutional change. And in that way -- and in that way, the U.S. Secretary of State Jim Kerry and the Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski have highlighted the forthcoming independence referendum in Scotland as an agreed process. Does the foreign secretary agree that any referendum must fulfill the highest democratic standards like Scotland and not under the dubious circumstances and the barrel of a gun like Crimea?
HAGUE: Well, the referendum in Scotland was agreed in this parliament of course and takes place in a legal and fully democratic manner. This referendum in the Crimea took place at 10 days notice without the leaders of Ukraine being able to visit Crimea, without meeting any of the OSCE standards for democratic decisions or elections, which include verification of the existence of an accurate and voter registration list and confidence that only people holding Ukrainian passports would be allowed to vote.
None of these conditions were fulfilled. So of course it is the opposite end of any scale from the referendum taking place in Scotland.
I'll go a couple of more times and then make progress given the restriction on the debate. My honorable friend and then the honorable member.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I say to my honorable friend...
LU STOUT: And that was the British Foreign Secretary William Hague addressing the situation in Ukraine and also that speech given about an hour ago by the Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Putin called Crimea an inalienable part of Russia.
Now William Hague, he called Putin's speech regrettable as it, quote, chooses the path of isolation. Mr. Hague also added that he is working with allies to expand the OSCE monitoring mission in all parts of Ukraine given the concern out there of further action by Russia outside Crimea. And the British foreign secretary, he also paid tribute to what he called the extraordinary restraint shown by the Ukrainian government and people with a part of their country invaded.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. In fact, World Business Today is next.