Crimea Votes to Be Independent State 03/11 07:17
The Crimean parliament voted Tuesday that the Black Sea peninsula will
declare itself an independent state if its residents agree to split off from
Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- The Crimean parliament voted Tuesday that the Black
Sea peninsula will declare itself an independent state if its residents agree
to split off from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum.
Crimea's regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a "declaration of
independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea." The document specified that
Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in
favor of joining Russia in the referendum.
Western nations have said they will not recognize the vote as legitimate.
But the move might be used as an attempt to ease tensions with Crimea existing
as a self-proclaimed state without Russia moving quickly to incorporate it into
After a brief war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, some leaders sin
Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia also asked to join
Russia, but their request was never granted.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's acting president on Tuesday called for the formation of
a national guard and for the mobilization of reserves and volunteers into the
country's armed forces.
Oleksandr Turchynov asked the national parliament to approve turning the
country's Interior Ministry troops into a National Guard "to defend the country
and citizens against any criminals, against external and internal aggression."
Turchynov said that the mobilization will include those who have previously
served in the army and volunteers.
Russian forces have strengthened their control over Ukraine's Crimea region
in the run-up to a referendum set for Sunday on whether to split off and become
part of Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who will fly to Washington to
meet with Barack Obama on Wednesday, called on Western nations to defend
Ukraine against a nation "that is armed to the teeth and that has nuclear
Meanwhile, Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, accused the
country's new government of fomenting civil war.
Yatsenyuk asked Russia, the U.S. and European Union member Britain to abide
by a treaty signed in 1994, in which they pledged to guarantee Ukraine's
security in exchange for giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons.
"We are not asking for anything from anyone," Yatsenyuk told parliament. "We
are asking for just one thing: military aggression has been used against our
country. Those who guaranteed that this aggression will not take place, must
from the one side pull out troops and from the other side must defend our
independent, sovereign state."
Parliament was to vote later Wednesday on the motion on mobilization and the
appeal to the West.
Yanukovych, speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, repeated
the Russian claim that the new Ukrainian authorities are kowtowing to radical
nationalists, and that they posed a threat to Russian-speaking eastern regions.
Yanukovych, who fled last month after months of protests, said he would soon
return to Ukraine.