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Ukraine foreign minister: We will fight for our land

Ukraine is prepared to consider all options, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsya told CNBC ahead of Sunday's referendum in Crimea.

On Sunday, the people of Crimea will vote on whether to stay part of Ukraine. They are widely forecast to reject Ukrainian rule – but many of the most powerful international forces are discrediting the results before they come in.

While Crimea is already an autonomous region within Ukraine, a vote would, in theory, mean full independence.

(Read more: Ukraine accuses Russia of military incursion)

Brendan Smialowski/Staff | AFP | Getty Images

"We will fight for our land," Deshchytsya said in an interview with CNBC's Steve Sedgwick. "And as you know, our position is to use all means – peaceful means, diplomatic channels, [and] diplomatic efforts to stop this."

While Deschcytsya said that only peaceful means are currently under consideration, he noted that it's hard to say that this is solely a diplomatic war: "If you go to the Crimea and see tanks and gangs, people with Kalashnikovs on the street, it's a real military action, so that's a very dangerous development."

However, when asked if he saw the situation escalating into a physical war, Deschcytsya indicated that it seemed unlikely: "There is a very wide support of the Ukrainian position in the international arena among the partners in the EU (European Union), United States and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), so we believe that with such common efforts we will be able to convince Russia not to go to a real war, but to stop at this point and settle all the issues around the table."

(Read more: Crimea referendum: Why it's so important)

"We are capable of solving the internal problem without a Russian invasion," he added. "We don't need to protect the Russian speaking population with the Russian military here. We are wise enough to talk to our people who speak Russian and… we are able to live with them in peace here."

Following recent comments from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about self-determination in the region, Deschcytsya said that there is a right for autonomy in Crimea.

"We are ready to discuss with Crimeans their needs, in the framework of this autonomy. We are ready to discuss an expansion of their autonomy if they are not satisfied with the economic development, the rights of national minorities, the local governments, but we wanted to do it peacefully again, in a way of dialogue, but not with the military threat from the neighboring country," he said.

(Read more: Russia has 'no plans to invade Ukraine': Lavrov)

Regarding Ukraine's move toward an economic association with the EU, he noted that while progress has been quick the needs of Ukraine's enterprises and people remain key.

"Economically the EU is already deciding to open its market to Ukrainian goods. But we will also continue our negotiations about a free trade agreement with the EU, but need to take into account the real needs of Ukrainian enterprises and people why are working in eastern Ukrainian, particularly for big Ukrainian enterprises so they are not affected by free trade with the EU," he said.

Reporting by CNBC's Steve Sedgwick, writing by John Phillips

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