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Crimea parliament declares independence from Ukraine ahead of referendum

Published time: March 11, 2014 10:30
Edited time: March 13, 2014 08:31
A woman walking by a poster calling people to vote in the upcoming referendum, in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

A woman walking by a poster calling people to vote in the upcoming referendum, in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has adopted an independence declaration from Ukraine which is necessary for holding a March 16 referendum.

“We, the members of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council, with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms, make this decision,” says the text of the declaration, which was published by the Crimean media.

The document was adopted during an extraordinary session of parliament.

78 of 100 members of the parliament voted in favor of the declaration.

The Crimean parliament’s vote to become an independent sovereign state paves the way for the March 16 referendum for the Crimean Autonomous Republic and the city of Sevastopol to join Russia.

If the referendum is in favor, the Crimean authorities will request for their country to become a constituent republic of the Russian Federation.

The declaration was signed by the speaker of the Supreme Council of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, and the head of the Sevastopol City Council, Yury Doynikov.

“We adopted the declaration of independence to make the upcoming referendum legitimate and transparent,” Konstantinov said.

“Now we declare ourselves the Republic of Crimea, we don’t add ‘autonomous."

After Tuesday’s declaration of independence, Crimea will never rejoin Ukraine, Konstantinov added.

“Crimea won’t be a part of Ukraine even if the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, returns to power,” he said. “The country where we lived doesn’t exist anymore. We are going our own way and we’re trying to do it quickly.”

Konstantinov said that Crimea will adopt the Russian ruble as its currency soon after the referendum.

Meanwhile, Crimean authorities are preparing for Sunday’s poll, says the speaker of the Supreme Council of Crimea. He reiterated that he believes the referendum will be passed.

“The ballots for the referendum are being printed and the election committees are being formed in all parts of Crimea," he says.

Seventy-seven percent of people in Crimea and Sevastopol will vote to join Russia in the March 16 referendum, according to the poll conducted by Crimea Republican Institute of Political and Sociological Research.

Eighty-five percent of people in Sevastopol, a city with a special status located on the Crimean peninsula, believe that it should join Russia.

According to the poll, 97 percent of the population of Sevastopol and Crimea negatively view the situation in Ukraine regarding the Kiev coup-imposed government, while 84 percent say that Ukraine is experiencing a crisis.

A total of 83 percent of the population of Crimea disapprove of the coup-appointed government in Kiev, the poll found.