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.
The ship is set to take place in exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces for an unspecified period of time.
EU leaders received the news of the vote in Crimea has they met for a “emergency summit” in Brussels.
Fox news reports:
US President Barrack Obama signed a executive order on Thursday that gives his administration authority to freeze assets and property of Russian officials who are responsible for intervention in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.
The US State Department has also taken measures to punish Russia, denying visas to those they deem responsible for the crisis.