Crimea breaks with Ukraine, joins Russia. US unhappy

Pro-Moscow crowds celebrate after voting in the Crimean capital Simferopol

3rd update on Monday: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognising Crimea as a sovereign state hours after the EU and US announce sanctions.

2nd update on Monday: American President Barack Obama announced US sanctions against Russian officials over Crimea referendum. The EU also imposed travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine following Crimea’s referendum on joining Russia.

1st update on Monday: Crimea’s parliament declares the region’s independence and formally applies to join Russia, a day after a referendum approves leaving Ukraine.

Residents of Ukraine’s Crimea region held a referendum on Sunday. They decided to break away from Ukraine and side with Russia. Reports say nearly 96.6% of voters in Crimea backed joining Russia.

Crimea’s leader says he will apply to join Russia on Monday. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the Crimean people’s wishes.

Mr Putin and US President Barack Obama spoke over the phone earlier, with the Kremlin and the White House later releasing contrasting accounts of the conversation.

The Kremlin said both men agreed to seek a way to stabilise Ukraine, and that Mr Putin had stressed that the Kiev government had failed to curb “rampant violence by ultra-nationalists”.

The White House said Mr Obama had insisted that the referendum was illegal and would never be accepted, and called for Moscow to support an international monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine.

The Crimea referendum offered voters on the strategic Black Sea Peninsula the choice of seeking annexation by Russia or remaining in Ukraine with greater autonomy.

Election chief Mykhaylo Malyshev said 44.27% had turned out after six hours, which he called “record-breaking”.

The US and Europe condemned the referendum as illegal. Ukraine’s new government called it a ‘circus’.

The White House said it would not recognise the results of the referendum in Crimea. It said it will impose sanctions against Russia within days.

ukraine crimea russia map


  • Autonomous republic within Ukraine
  • Transferred from Russia in 1954
  • Ethnic Russians – 58.5%
  • Ethnic Ukrainians – 24.4%
  • Crimean Tatars – 12.1%

Source: Ukraine census 2001

Crisis timeline

  • 21 Nov 2013: President Viktor Yanukovych abandons an EU deal
  • Dec: Pro-EU protesters occupy Kiev city hall and Independence Square
  • 20 Feb 2014: At least 88 people killed in 48 hours of bloodshed in Kiev
  • 22 Feb: Mr Yanukovych flees; parliament votes to remove him and calls election
  • 27-28 Feb: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in Crimean capital Simferopol
  • 6 Mar: Crimea’s parliament asks to join Russia and sets referendum for 16 March
  • 15 Mar: Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution condemning Crimea independence referendum

Source (map, timeline): BBC


  1. If US really really believe in Democracy then it should just keep quiet & avoid playing the universal soldier role.
    UN has again proved to be a brainless child. It should have played neutral role rather than issuing sanctions.

  2. @Sheeraz and Nasir: Don’t know why but we are always against United States no matter they are right or wrong. However, I view this issue from the stance of Pakistan. Pakistan respects all the definitions of UNDHR but still she will never be in favor Crimea to be a separate state or be the part of Russia because it’s their personal issue which needs to be addressed between the Government of Ukraine and Crimea (Just for a moment think Crimea is Balochistan and Ukraine is Pakistan, and you will get your answer).

    Russians are very smart and they have played it in a very smart manner; if Crimea will be the part of Russia then it’s going to benefit from agriculture to tourism. Having said that, European Union will never be harsh with Russia because at least 30% of natural gas is being provided to by Russia along with the major proportion of oil to Europe is transferred through sea vessels and relies on Russian pipelines which comes from Turkmenistan which is a (land locked country and have no other routes). This game is beyond our reach and for me it’s called “Resource Diplomacy”.

    If today we shout for Right of Self Determination then soon the eyes of the world would be at Balochistan.

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