The parliament of Crimea voted Thursday to join Russia, in a move analysts fear will exacerbate the Russia-Ukraine standoff.
Members of Parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation.” Analysts said the declaration must have had approval from Russia’s leaders.
In addition, the local government moved forward a national referendum on the issue of joining Russia. The referendum will now be held within 10 days.
The move comes as the European Union gathers for an emergency summit in which leaders will seek ways to convince Russia to back down.
Russia sent troops to the Crimea region, which has an ethnic Russian majority, following political unrest in the Ukraine that saw the overthrow of the government. Arutz Sheva’s correspondent in Kharkov warned this week that Ukraine does not intend to capitulate to Russia’s move to take over Crimea.
In addition, he said, Ukrainian leaders are concerned that Russia plans to invade Ukraine proper.
A dramatic confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers was caught on film earlier this week. The footage, which showed Russian troops firing shots, belied Russian President Vladimir Putin’s earlier claims that no Russian troops were in the area.