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The Referendum in Crimea

 
 
Posted Tuesday, March 18th 2014 @ 7pm

 

The Referendum in Crimea
Over the weekend, residents of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. This leaves the United States, the EU and the rest of the world to decide what's next in this international standoff with Vladimir Putin. 
The referendum in Crimea was held yesterday and 97% of voters supported becoming a part of Russia. While it's true that most of the people living in Crimea are ethnically Russian, it's obviously difficult to determine the legitimacy of this vote and its legitimacy within international law. 
The Ukrainian government, the United States, the EU and I expect much of the international community will not recognize the Crimean referendum as valid. They attempted to pass a resolution on this in the United Nations, but it failed when - you guessed it - Russia voted against the motion to declare the referendum invalid. Russia maintains that its actions are "fully within international norms." 
Now begins the process of Crimea becoming a part of Russia. The Crimean parliament has already applied to Russia to do so, and is traveling to Moscow today to figure out how to proceed. Putin is expected to address a joint session of the Russian parliament tomorrow. 
Can this be reversed? Definitely not quickly, but that no longer seems to be the goal of the international community. Crimea will be come a part of Russia, and the goal seems to be making sure that Putin's armed forces don't advance any further. Over the weekend there were reports that Russian forces had advanced beyond Crimean territory and seized a national gas terminal. 
So where does this leave us diplomatically? Click here to find out...

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