Crimea’s parliament has voted in favour of joining Russia and said it had asked Russian President Putin to “start the procedure” of allowing Crimea to be “reunited with its motherland.”
MPs also voted to hold a referendum in 10 days time on the status of Crimea.
Crimean parliament deputy Sergey Shuvalnikov explained what would be asked: “The following questions will be put on the referendum. First, do you vote for the reunion of Crimea with the Russian Federation, as a subject of the Russian federation? Second, do you vote for the 1992 constitutional restoration, and for for Crimea to be part of Ukraine?”
Kyiv’s new government says the referendum would be illegitimate.
Crimea’s announcement comes as EU leaders gather for an emergency summit in Brussels to put pressure on Russia to withdraw troops from Crimea.
In Moscow, Putin discussed Ukraine and the appeal from Crimea at a Security Council meeting but there has been no official response from Russia yet.
Meanwhile, the US says it is issuing visa restrictions against a number of Ukrainian and Russian officials.