Crimea’s parliament voted unanimously in favour of formally seceding from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia.
According to RIA news agency, the text of the law said that the Ukrainian peninsula agreed “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation.”
There will be a regionwide referendum on March 16. Crimea comprises 60% ethnic Russians.
The region’s parliament stated that the autonomous republic was seceding “as a the result of the unconstitutional coup,” which is how Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the installation of a pro-EU interim government.
The Kremlin-friendly officials also pushed forward the date for the vote again from the original date of May 25.
Crimea’s government was dismissed after armed gunman took over the strategic Black Sea peninsula.
Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, who heads a political party called Russian Unity, subsequently took over the new government.
The move by Crimea’s new government is a slap to the West and it’s “off-ramp” strategy to de-escalate the situation. Here’s Sweden Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s reaction:
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