Crimea declares independence from Ukraine, applies to join Russia

Crimea declares independence from Ukraine, applies to join Russia

Crimea’s regional assembly on Monday declared independence from Ukraine and applied to join Russia, saying all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula would be nationalised.

“The republic of Crimea appeals to the United Nations and to all countries of the world to recognise it as an independent state,” read a document approved by the assembly, a day after the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia. 

Sunday’s referendum was not recognised by any countries apart from the Russian Federation, and the United States and the European Union are preparing sanctions against Russia, whose troops have been occupying Crimea for several weeks.

Speaking to the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “I am confident we will agree some sanctions – some travel bans, some asset freezes on individuals in Russia. We will continue our efforts to make a diplomatic breakthrough with Russia in the coming days”.

Hague sought to clarify that even if Russia invaded eastern Ukraine, he did not support a military response. “We’re not looking at military options here, this is not about a Crimean war. We have not entertained military options so far.”

A delegation of Crimean lawmakers is set to travel to Moscow Monday for negotiations on how to proceed further. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is just a matter of time.

AFP and AP contributed to this report