SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. This may be a surprise to most Americans after watching the media this past week, although the area has a majority Russian population and leans toward Russia vs the European Union.
Ukraine’s ousted president whom was by forced out recently was elected Democratically in Ukraine by the Ukrainian people, Ukraine like the United States is very divided politically, no matter who is in power a almost 1/2 the country is not going to be happy.
The Crimean parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”.
The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. He said all state property would be “nationalized”, the Russian ruble could be adopted and Ukrainian troops would be treated as occupiers and be forced to surrender or leave.
The announcement raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War. Western nations have claimed Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea region and should return to their bases. Russia claimed they have no control of the Crimea self defense force in Crimea. Russia confirmed those troops are under the control of Sergey Aksyonov, who is the Prime Minister of Crimea.
The U.S. Navy announced a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, was heading to the Black Sea in what it said was a long-planned training exercise and not a show of force.
The new Ukrainian government whom replaced the previous elected officials recently has declared the referendum illegal. The new Ukrainian government does not recognize his authority or that of the parliament, and Crimea Parliament does not recognize the new Ukrainian government in Kiev as they were not democratically elected.
A Crimean parliament official said voters will be asked two questions: should Crimea be part of the Russian Federation and should Crimea return to an earlier constitution (1992) that gave the region more autonomy?