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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crimean leadership says region will hold referendum on joining Russia in under two weeks as EU leaders hold emergency summit to discuss sanctions -- By Sam Webb, DailyMail.co.uk

 The Crimean parliament voted unanimously 'to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation' today
  • Vice premier Temirgaliev said issue will be put to vote on March 16
  • 'We will decide our future ourselves' said one official
  • Strong response to Russia is unlikely as EU nations argue over sanctions
  • EU has frozen assets of members of Yanukovych's ousted government
  • U.S. is rushing hard-hitting sanctions into place

  • Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

    The sudden acceleration of moves to formally bring the Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation.

    The Crimean parliament voted unanimously 'to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation', the RIA news agency reported. Its vice premier said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16.

    The announcements, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War.

    Russia claims to have entered Crimea in order to protect Russian-speakers who make up the majority of the population in the southern and western regions of Ukraine.

    RIA quoted Crimea's vice premier, Rustam Temirgaliev, as saying the referendum would ask two questions. 'The first is: Are you for the inclusion of Crimea into the Russian Federation as a subject of the federation?

    'The second: Are you for the restoration of the constitution for Crimea of 1992?'
    The 1992 constitution sees Crimea as part of Ukraine.

    'This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev,' Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the local Crimean legislature, said Thursday. 

    'We will decide our future ourselves.'
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