Crimean Parliament votes to join Russia; US, EU condemn move
Zee Media Bureau
Kiev: The Ukraine government along with United States of America and European Union have criticised and termed the move of the lawmakers in Crimea as illegal, who voted to join Russia on Thursday.
Parliamentarians in the Ukraine`s autonomous region of Crimea Thursday voted to formally become part of the Russian Federation, with the verdict going for a referendum likely.
If the Parliament`s request is granted, the decision would be put to the Crimean people for their verdict in a referendum March 16, BBC reported citing the region`s parliament.
US President Barack Obama on expressed hope that the crisis in Ukraine would de-escalate in coming weeks as he continues to mobilise the international community to condemn the Russian military action in Kiev.
Wider diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis also appeared to stall, with a second round of talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in two days ending with no agreement.
With an executive order, US President Barack Obama also approved possible visa bans and property sanctions against people seen as "directly involved in destabilising Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea".
European Union leaders at a hastily convened emergency summit in Brussels also pushed for Russia to opt for dialogue and de-escalation, while warning that sanctions were in the offing should Moscow refuse a diplomatic solution.
"We have got to make sure we get Russia and Ukraine talking to each other," said British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Invited to attend the summit in a strong symbolic gesture, Ukraine`s interim premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of continued provocation around Ukrainian bases in Crimea.
Crimea, having a mostly ethnic Russian population, has been at the centre of tensions following the fall of Ukraine`s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich.
Pro-Russian and Russian forces have been for several days in de facto control of the peninsula, which already enjoys a degree of autonomy from Kiev.
The Crimean parliament resolved "to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation".
Crimea region, a peninsula on Ukraine`s Black Sea coast, has 2.3 million people. Most of them identify themselves as ethnic Russians and speak Russian, an IANS report said.
Russia has been the dominant power in Crimea for most of the last 200 years, since it annexed the region in 1783. The region was, however, transferred by Moscow to Ukraine - then part of the Soviet Union - in 1954. Some ethnic Russians see that as a historical wrong.
In 2010, the Crimea region voted heavily for Yanukovych during the presidential election. Many people here today believe that he is the victim of a coup -- leading to attempts by separatists in Crimea`s parliament to push for a vote on whether it should leave Ukraine.
With agencies inputs
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