Crimean Parliament votes to join Russia, US warns against annexation

By Daniel S Levine,

A day after Crimean citizens overwhelmingly voted in favor of leaving Ukraine to join Russia, lawmakers there moved quickly to vote for joining Russia. The U.S. has denounced the referendum and said it refuses to recognize the result.

Crimean politicians said that laws from Kiev are no longer recognized there and that all state property now belongs to Crimea, reports The New York Times. They said that Ukrainian officials no longer have any power there. For the time being, the Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is now the State Council of the Republic of Crimea. Politicians there say that Crimea is a new state and are now asking that the Russian Federation allow it to join.

After the referendum on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin again, the White House said, notes The Washington Post. Obama said the results “would never be recognized by the United States and the international community” and “we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.”

European Union members are also going to meet on Monday to decide what actions to take against Russia. The West has said that it is not looking to take any military actions, so asset freezing and travel bans on some Russians are on the table. “We are not looking at military options here, this is not about a Crimean war,” U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

For the Obama administration, sanctions against Russia are possible. The White House has issued strong statements and has warned against Russia annexing Crimea.

“In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another,” the White House stated. “We call on all members of the international community to continue to condemn such actions, to take concrete steps to impose costs, and to stand together in support of the Ukrainian people and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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