The Crimean Parliament has voted to join the Russian Federation and has set a vote for the people to vote on the subject in 10 days.
Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.
The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally under Moscow’s rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation.
The Crimean parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”.
The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. He said all state property would be “nationalized” and the Russian ruble could be adopted.
The announcement, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War. Russia stocks fell and the ruble weakened further after the news.