Parliament recognizes Crimea as part of Russia
The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved Moscow’s annexation of Crimea
Russia’s upper house of parliament on Friday unanimously voted to ratify the treaty incorporating Crimea into Russian territory in defiance of the international community’s insistence that the peninsula is part of Ukraine
All 155 senators present voted at a televised session to approve the treaty which was signed on Tuesday by President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin has said that it considers Crimea part of Russia since the signing of the treaty.
Residents of the Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote, held two weeks after Russian troops had taken over Crimea.
The move, already approved by the lower house, is set to be completed later Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature.
The U.S. and the European Union have responded by slapping sanctions on Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered a second round of sanctions Thursday targeting members of Putin’s inner circle and a major bank supporting them.
International agencies downgraded Russia’s outlook, and Russian stock plummeted Friday.
Meanwhile, Ukraine interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk put his country firmly in the Western camp Friday, signing the political provisions of a landmark association accord with EU leaders in defiance of Russia.
“Signing political part EU-Ukraine Association Agreement symbolizes importance of relations (and) will to take it further,” EU president Hermann Van Rompuy said in a tweeted message.
(With AFP and Reuters)