The Crimean parliament voted unanimously to join the Russian federation on Thursday, setting a referendum on the decision for March 16.
According to the vice premier of Crimea the referendum will decide whether or not to nationalize state property, adopt the Russian Ruble as Crimean currency and force Ukrainian troops to surrender or leave the country. Local voters will also be given a vote to remain a part of Ukraine but as an autonomous republic, as laid out in the peninsulas post-Soviet Union constitution.
“This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev,” Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the Crimean parliament, told the Associated Press Thursday. ”We will decide our future ourselves.”
The Current Ukrainian government has condemned Crimea’s decision to join Russia and has opened a criminal investigation into Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Askyonov over the decision. The Ukrainian government refuses to recognize the government body in Crimea as legitimate.
Simultaneously, the US is sending a guided-missile destroyer into the Black Sea for what it calls a routine visit that is unrelated to the event unfolding in Ukraine…
Ignoring recent history, Obama says secession is illegal:
President Obama continues to express outrage at the idea of the Crimea seceding from the Ukraine, and today insisted that an impending referendum on whether Crimeans want to secede itself “violates international law.”
Obama went on to insist that “in 2014 we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders,” leaving open the question of how Ukraine’s interim government, installed in the wake of violent protests just over a week ago, amount to “democratic leaders.”
Obama’s interpretation of international law also didn’t appear to be based on anything concrete, as indeed international law is pretty vague on the matter and secession through referendum has been treated as a valid option in the past.
The most noteworthy recent example was the 1991 independence referendum in Croatia, which likewise came over the objection of the recognized sovereign nation, in that case Yugoslavia…
Not to mention Kosovo leaving Serbia. Related:
The back story: