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Friday, March 7, 2014

Russian Parliament Will Back Crimea Split From Ukraine -- Russian Upper House Will Support Crimea Referendum Decision, Says Parliamentary Speaker -- By Andrey Ostroukh, The Wall Street Journal

MOSCOW—Russia's upper house of parliament will support Crimea in its bid to join the Russian Federation, the speaker of the upper house of parliament said Friday.

"If the people of Crimea decide to join Russia in the referendum, we, as the upper house, will certainly support this decision," Valentina Matvienko said at a meeting with Vladimir Konstantinov, his counterpart in the Crimean parliament.

A delegation from the Crimean peninsula were in Moscow to meet parliamentarians who warmly welcomed the guests and signaled their willingness to support the neighboring region.

On Thursday, the Moscow-backed authorities in Crimea, a region where ethnic Russians are the majority, called for the referendum in mid-March to confirm their plan to secede from Ukraine and to make the region part of Russia. 

U.S. and European leaders said such a referendum would violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law. The West also warned that financial and political sanctions could be imposed against Russia.
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