US, EU impose sanctions over Crimea vote

Crimean parliament formally applies to join Russia.

Crimea’s parliament has formally declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation. It follows Sunday’s controversial referendum which officials say overwhelmingly backed leaving Ukraine, the BBC reports.
The government in Kiev has said it will not recognise the results. The US and EU say the vote was illegal and have vowed to impose sanctions on Moscow.
Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called the vote “a circus performance” backed up by “21,000 Russian troops, who with their guns are trying to prove the legality of the referendum”.
Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said it was a “great farce” which “will never be recognised either by Ukraine or by the civilised world”.
Meanwhile, the parliament in Kiev has formally approved the partial mobilisation of 40,000 reservists.

President Barack Obama has moved to impose sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials the U.S. has singled out in conjunction with Sunday’s Moscow-backed Crimea referendum on the peninsula’s secession from Ukraine, the Voice of America reports.
Obama’s executive order applies to 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, including two top advisers to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in addition to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. All will be subject to asset freezes. In announcing the move, Obama said that the policies and actions of the Russian Federation have been found to “undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” Reacting to the measures, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is on U.S. sanctions list, said they won’t affect those without assets abroad. Separately, European Union foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine, Lithuania’s foreign minister said on Monday.

President Basescu: Crimea referendum, illegal; Romania does not recognise its outcome

Romania’s President Traian Basescu says the Crimea referendum is illegal, pointing to the fact that Romania does not recognise the outcome of the plebiscite, the Presidential Administration reports in a press release.
‘Romania believes the ongoing referendum in Crimea is illegal and will not recognise its outcome, given that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has ruled unconstitutional the organisation of a referendum on the Crimean Peninsula breaking away from Ukraine. Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has signed a decree repealing Crimea’s declaration of independence,’ Basescu says in the release issued on Sunday evening.
He adds that ‘a plebiscite held under the threat of military occupation violates the rules of a democratic process that can be recognised and legitimated by the world community,’ and that ‘the predictable and legally ungrounded outcome’ of the referendum is tantamount to Crimea’s annexation.
‘We are urging the Russian Federation to act in its relationship with Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter and the rules of the international law, including with the provisions in the Budapest Memorandum,’ reads the release.
Basescu concludes by saying Romania is supporting Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the resolution of the crisis through diplomatic means.
FM Corlatean: If we accept what is happening in Crimea, Europe’s regional borders would blow up
Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Titus Corlatean has pointed out that if the international community accepts what is happening in Crimea, then the borders of Europe ‘could change anytime.’
‘If we accept in the international community these types of attitudes, on the basis of armed intervention – because what happened (in Crimea) is an armed intervention, it is defined by international law as aggression – the borders in Europe and in this region would virtually blow up. We must be aware that, beyond the case itself which is dramatic, there is a wider interpretation. We have a duty to fight for border stability, territorial integrity and state sovereignty, according to internal constitutional rules – and this is the case with Ukraine’s Constitution – and according to international law,’ Corlatean told private broadcaster Prima TV on Sunday.
Corlatean emphasised that no one wishes ‘conflict with the Russian Federation’ but there is a need for firmness in relations with Russia.
‘If in the near future the Russian Federation does not positively commit itself to a political process of dialogue to resolve the situation, the EU will resort to the next set of sanctions. And there is a gradual array of possible sanctions that they may impose. I am saying gradual, so they are things that matter; they matter to political leaders as individuals or in charge of certain things, they matter to assets, property and free circulation. I assure you that by restricting these and possibly other measures potential discomfort is stirred up,’ Corlatean explained.
Romania’s chief diplomat Titus Corlatean on Monday took part in a meeting in Brussels of EU foreign ministers.

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