The Obama Administration insists that neither the United States nor European Union will ever recognize the results of this weekend’s referendum in Crimea, which is widely expected to call for its accession into the Russian Federation.
Crimea’s parliament seceded from the Ukraine earlier this week, and the referendum provides options to either return to Ukraine or to join Russia. It does not give an option to remain independent.
The US and NATO argue that Crimea’s secession contravenes “international law,” though officials have long taken an opportunistic position on secession, backing those liable to put pro-US governments in power and spurning those that will not.
US officials have said that the referendum cannot be allowed because Ukraine’s pro-US interim government, installed in violent protests weeks ago, has opposed it. They have demanded Russia force the Crimeans to stop the vote from occurring, and have vowed sanctions Monday if the referendum is held.
Russian President Vladimir Putin insists that the referendum is entirely in keeping with international norms, and the UN Charter. Though Putin has expressed reservations about Crimean accession, the Russian parliament has strongly supported the idea. Crimea has a majority Russian population, and was legally part of Russia until 1954, when the Soviet Union transferred it internally to Ukraine’s republic.
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