President Vladimir Putin has signed an order that Russia recognizes Crimea as a sovereign and independent state.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea held a referendum on Sunday with over 96% voting for integration into Russia.
“According to the will of the peoples of the Crimea on the all-Crimean referendum held on March 16, 2014, [I order] to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state,” the document reads.
The order comes into force immediately.
Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament’s website stated.
Crimea also addressed the UN seeking recognition as a sovereign state.
“The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states,” the parliament said.
The Crimean parliament also unanimously voted to integrate the region into Russia.
The parliament’s resolution comes after Sunday’s referendum which resulted in over 96 percent of voters answering ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia. The overall voter turnout in the referendum was 81.37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.
He also stressed that there were no complaints concerning the voting process. Those international observers who came to Crimea made an official statement on Monday that the vote was free and conformed to international standards.
“The documents on the referendum fully reflect international standards, including the secret ballot, open and transparent nature of the referendum, public and international observation. These acts have no discriminatory restrictions” said Mateusz Piskorski, former Polish MP who participated in the observation of the referendum. “There was freedom of speech and expression,” he added.
Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Serbia Nenad Popovic stressed that during the plebiscite, equality of rights of referendum participants was consistently provided.
“The participants of the referendum were provided the opportunity to review the wording of questions in the languages of the main ethnic communities of the Republic of Crimea”, he said.
The international reaction to the Crimea’s referendum and its resolution was the implementation of sanctions. On Monday the EU and US slapped visa bans and financial restrictions against Russian and Ukrainian officials.
The White House stated that “the actions and policies” of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine “undermine democratic processes” and “threaten its peace,” sanctioning 11 officials. While the EU late on Monday introduced a list of 21 Russian and Crimean political figures that will be sanctioned for 6 months.
The decision to hold a referendum was sparked by the bloody Maidan protests that resulted in the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich. Crimea refused to recognize the coup-imposed government. The people in the region also feared that the far-right Kiev authorities would not represent their interests. The Crimeans, the majority of which are ethnic Russians were particularly unhappy over parliament’s decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages, including Russian.
“Putin will become the first person of world politics”
“The U.S. will not threaten Russia with military sanctions. Nobody is ready to fight for Ukraine. And threatening us with war only for the psychological pressure is useless, because it will only show that Washington has completely lost its sense of reality.
American military superiority in this situation does not play any role — firstly, because nobody in the U.S. is capable of convincing its own population that Americans must fight for the “Russia’s Mexico.” But more importantly, the U.S. with its own behavior in the world arena is completely discredited. Furthermore, in any country, from Japan to Venezuela, everybody understands the moral, historical, and geopolitical difference that exists between the American attack on Iraq and the introduction of the Russian military to Ukraine.
Very worrisome times await us — boycotts and sanctions are quite likely (Obama is already threatening with isolation), and mass campaigns against us in western media. However, he won’t continue with it, as it’s not in the interests of the West itself. After the mandatory public hysteria, Obama will have to calm down and negotiate with us about Ukraine, and together with us create an interim government and forget about the Euro integration of Kiev. If the US won’t agree to that, and will decide to enter a tough confrontation, then Russia will not limit itself with recalling its ambassador from Washington.
Vladimir Putin has been working for a while on building a strong geopolitical combination and variations of actions. Syria, Aghanistan, and the U.S. game with Iran — these are just some most noticeable issues of today which will be affected by an attempt of confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.
A total collapse of the American hegemony became possible not just because during the post-Soviet period the U.S. was simply overstrained, trying to dictate its will to the world, but also because, while China was rapidly growing in strength, Russia managed to rebuild not only its physical forces, but also its willpower and moral power.
The will is back, the self confidence and our right to insist on our historical and national interest. In the 1990s, Russia was falling. From March 2014 it began an era of a comeback. And it’s irreversible.”