Ukraine Parliament Issues Crimea Ultimatum Over Referendum

Ukraine Parliament Issues Crimea Ultimatum Over Referendum

Ukraine’s parliament told the new Crimea parliament to cancel the referendum on March 16 or face dissolution. This action comes after Crimea’s parliament voted for independence from Ukraine, which clears the path to join the Russian Federation if the people the referendum passes on Sunday. From The Kyiv Post:

A total of 255 lawmakers out of the 324 registered in the parliament’s session hall voted for a respective statement of the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.

The statement notes that the decision to hold the referendum contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.

Lawmakers believe that an appeal by the Crimean Supreme Council to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federal Assembly contradicts Articles 134 and 138 of the Constitution of Ukraine, according to which the Crimean parliament is not authorized to carry out foreign policy relations.

After Ukraine’s parliament ousted Russia-backed president, Crimea immediately took steps to break from Ukraine. Pro-Russians and Russia forces took over government buildings, the airport, military bases, and ferry terminals. Putin claims Russia did not send in more forces and the only ones in Crimea are in the Black Sea Fleet, but Ukraine soldiers contradict him.

Putin is facing major backlash for the aggression against Ukraine, but he insists he has the right to protect the over 58% ethnic Russians and Russian interests in Crimea. The US implemented visa bans and stopped all trade and military engagements with Russia. European Union officials stopped all talk of visa-free travel with Russia and will meet in London to discuss freezing the assets of 18 people.

Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said the referendum is illegal and will not give up any land to Russia. He will visit with President Obama on Wednesday in Washington, DC.