Crimeans on Sunday overwhelmingly voted to join Russia and leave Ukraine, in a referendum the White House and Western governments rejected. Here’s the latest:
Almost everyone voted to join Russia
The Crimean election spokesman said 83.1 percent of Crimeans, or about 1.27 million people, turned out to vote. Almost 97 percent of them voted to become part of Russia.
But Crimea isn’t part of Russia yet
Crimea’s parliament voted today to join the Russian Federation, but now Russia gets to decide whether, and how, to absorb the area. Fifty members of Crimea’s parliament (it has a separate parliament because it has operated semi-autonomously within Ukraine) are headed to Moscow today. Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to speak to Russia’s parliament about the situation tomorrow. Analysts say it could be months before Crimea is formally annexed by Russia, if that happens.
The West is not in favor of Crimea becoming part of Russia
Both the European Union and the United States placed new sanctions on people involved in the push for the referendum. They have called the vote illegitimate and unconstitutional. The United States placed asset freezes and travel bans on seven Russians and four Ukrainians, and the E.U. sanctioned 21 as-yet-unidentified officials.
(Before the vote, Adam Taylor in WorldViews explained why this is not like Scotland’s vote for independence.)
Ukraine has activated its military reservists
Anthony Faiola reports from Kiev that Ukraine has approved an emergency military build-up in a major monetary commitment for a cash-strapped country. Ukraine’s defense minister said troops are “combat ready” in the east and south, near Russia. A truce is in place for the two countries until Friday. A major fight is considered unlikely, but many Ukrainians are angry at both Russia and the West for not doing enough, Faiola reports.
It’s pretty quiet in Crimea
Carol Morello in Sevastopol reports that while there’s plenty of uncertainty, things are quiet in Crimea. Some residents gathered to celebrate the vote to join Russia, but she didn’t see tension or action on military bases there.