News / Europe

EU: Crimea Referendum Illegal

Pro-Russian volunteers stand guard in front of Crimea's parliament building during a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, March 6, 2014.
Pro-Russian volunteers stand guard in front of Crimea's parliament building during a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, March 6, 2014.
A top European Union official labeled as illegal Thursday's abrupt decision by the Crimean parliament to hold a referendum to endorse a break with Ukraine.  

Crimea, Ukraine.Crimea, Ukraine.
x
Crimea, Ukraine.
Crimea, Ukraine.
The decision by Crimean lawmakers to schedule a referendum for March 16 on whether Crimea should become part of Russia is adding to tensions over the future of the Ukrainian peninsula, home to Russia’s Back Sea Fleet.

Western diplomats are trying to coax political leaders in Ukraine and Russia to negotiate a solution to the confrontation over Crimea, which Russian forces seized last week. And the decision by the region’s parliament to ask Moscow to consider its request to secede from Ukraine and join Russia is being seen by Ukrainian parliamentarians as an inflammatory move.  

The European Union’s envoy to Ukraine, Jan Tombinski, says Crimea cannot secede from Ukraine and join Russia on the basis of a referendum restricted just to Crimea. Citing article 73 of Ukraine's constitution, he says such a referendum would be illegal.

“It stipulates that the only way is the all-Ukrainian referendum," he noted. "So, in the light of the constitution in force in Ukraine, in its territorial integrity, including Crimea, this is against the stipulation of the constitution.”

Speaking at a news conference, the EU envoy said only a nationwide referendum would have the legal authority to allow such a breakaway. Ukraine’s new interim leaders also denounced the move as “unconstitutional.”

During the vote in Crimea’s parliament, 78 of the region’s lawmakers voted in favor of holding a referendum and joining Russia. There were eight abstentions and no votes against the move. In a statement on its website, the parliament announced it had asked Moscow “to start the procedure” for allowing Crimea to join the Russian Federation.

In the referendum, the Crimean people will be asked just two questions: Are you in favor of reuniting Crimea with Russia? Are you in favor of retaining the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?

Crimea has been a part of Ukraine since 1954, when Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev formally transferred the region to Ukraine. The region’s population is mostly ethnic Russian but is also the ancestral home of Muslim Tatars.

Ukrainian parliamentarian Lesya Orobets, one of the leaders of the uprising that ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, says Crimea must remain part of Ukraine.

“We are not trading territory for peace," she said. "We have our citizens there. We have Crimean Tatars. This is their motherland. There are 300,000 living there. They are Muslims. That is their motherland.”

The referendum proposal will add a further complexity to ongoing diplomatic negotiations, say analysts.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
March 08, 2014 2:03 PM
This is an intelligent economic move for Crimea. Russia and China are military allies in the SCO. A recent rail link through Kazakhstan, another SCO ally, links China and Russia. Crimean grain can go by container truck to the port of Kerch in eastern Crimea, cross by ferry to Kavkaz in Russia, put on container railroad flatcars, and taken by rail to China. China suffered the same winter conditions as the US, so it will need to import grain for livestock and poultry. Also, China's GDP growth rate is 7.7%, four times that of the US; its increasingly prosperous people want more meat; and this will increase in the future. The first improvement people make as wealth rises is to improve their diets. The second is to buy a car, so China is also the world's biggest car market, and some Chinese may drive to the Crimea because Chinese tourism is rising, and the Crimea is becoming an increasingly popular tourist resort. As a whole, the Ukraine has a poor economy that faces the threat of EU austerity with riots like those in Greece, Spain, and other EU lands. Russia had 1.3% GDP growth in 2013 compared to 0.3% for the EU. Therefore, Crimea's proposal is extremely intelligent.


by: Regula from: USA
March 07, 2014 5:58 AM
There is nothing illegal about Crimea's referendum: after the right-extreme mob, with help by the US/NATO, shot both police and protesters to keep the turmoil going and topple a democratically elected government, for no other cause than because Yanukovich refused to sign a suicidal deal with the EU, there is no further trust in either, the EU, the illegal coup government, who was clearly part of the planning for the turmoil and the shootings, nor the EU. Given Nuland's confirmed interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine and Yatsenyuk's refusal to execute his part of the EU co-signed agreement, no basis of trust in any agreement with the government exists. The EU collaborated with the US and, like the US, denied the violence in the Maidan even when so many video clips showed the war-like scenes. The southern provinces, who weren't part of the rioting, never had a say. Now they chose to have a referendum to either increase their independence within Ukraine or re-integrate with Russia.

There is nothing illegal about that referendum: It is clear that the US wanted to use the rightwing extremists to oust the Russians from their base and fleet and subjugate or chase away the Russian population. That goal was the underlying motive for the protests. The Russian army prevented both, that goal and the civil war with which the US intended to reach it.

Contrary to western propaganda, most Ukrainians don't really want to join the EU. They protested against the corruption in the government. For them, the new government is already tainted with that same corruption and worse. Secession of the southern and eastern provinces is now likely.





by: Nein Roths from: Mainville
March 07, 2014 12:54 AM
Which international law prohibits people from voting to determine their own fate?


by: Peter
March 07, 2014 12:29 AM
The US should support a free referendum in Crimea. Support the freedom of people to decide their destiny. This is the only right thing now.

If there is a doubt that the will of people of Crimea will be reflected in the referendum then try to pressure Russia to allow international observers to be present during the referendum.
But support the referendum!


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
March 06, 2014 2:28 PM
does that mean next Quebec independence referendum must be voted by every Canadians?


by: Hilton from: UK
March 06, 2014 11:33 AM
Funny how the EU was quick to recognize Kosovo independence, but not Crimea?? What a bunch of hypocrites!


by: Max
March 06, 2014 11:24 AM
Why international community was silent when crazy Khrushev gave russian land Crimea to Ukraine WITHOUT national referendum and without legal procedure?
Why russian people living in Crimea have no right to decide their future and return to home - in Russia?
Why you don't notice how happy they are finally to see a little hope to join families that was divided 20 years ago?
Why at least russian nation cannot decide what to do with land that was conquered, built by russian hands?
It was never ever ukrainian land. Please let us alone


by: Boris from: Russia
March 06, 2014 11:22 AM
EU: Crimea Referendum Illegal... so, what are you going to do..?? send us the corrupt scumbag José Manuel Barroso... or the British Ashton deformity...? LOL i am just asking... what are you going to do...?


by: George Weiss from: `Teaneck, USA
March 06, 2014 11:21 AM
I do not understand why Crimea is different from Bosnia or the other entities that formed Yugoslavia. If the EU recognized the right of Bosnia to secede from Yugoslavia then why can Crimea not secede from Ukraine. I think the answer is that Germany has always been anti-Serbian and saw the brekup of yugoslavia as an opportunity.


by: Scott from: Chicago
March 06, 2014 11:19 AM
"The European Union’s envoy to Ukraine, Jan Tombinski, says Crimea cannot secede from Ukraine and join Russia on the basis of a referendum restricted just to Crimea. Citing article 73 of Ukraine's constitution"

According to the same constitution, a sitting President can not be overthrown by a mob"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid