TML Daily – IN A referendum held on Sunday, March 16, citizens of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
Despite western media hysteria that the non-Russian population of the Crimea – Crimean tartars and Ukrainian nationals, which constitute 41.7 per cent of the Crimean population – would either not vote or be bullied under military occupation, the election was said to be conducted with due respect for the expectations of a free election. Reports say that 83.1 per cent of eligible Crimean voters cast their ballot in the March 16th referendum. The final tally of the vote was 96.77 per cent in favour of joining the Russian Federation, and 2.51 per cent against. (According to official data, Russians constitute 58.32 per cent of the population of Crimea, 24.32 per cent are Ukrainians and 12.10 per cent are Crimean Tatars).
On March 17, the U.S. State Department and European Union imposed sanctions on government authorities and deputies claiming that the vote violated the Constitution of Ukraine. Seven Russians are included on the so-called black list of the US Department of State, including the president of the Federation Council (Senate) Valentina Matvienko, senator Andrei Klishas, and deputies Elena Mizulina and Leonid Slutski. The Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin and Krelim advisor Sergei Glasev were also included on the list. Similar measures of visa restrictions and freezing of bank accounts were adopted by the European Union against 13 Russian citizens and eight Crimean government officials and parliamentarians.
The G7 as well as the European Council and the European Commission also issued a joint statement on March 2, attacking Russia’s position on Ukraine and declaring suspension of preparations for a G8 summit scheduled for June in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
Despite this, the Russian parliament signed a treaty accepting Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. Deputies of the Duma (Lower Chamber) denounced the reprisals saying they are convinced the measures have no relation to the Crimea issue, but to their country’s positions which are independent from those of the U.S. and EU.