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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs