Crimea leaves Ukraine to join Russia: Western governments say public vote is illegal

THE Autonomous Republic of Crimea (克里米亞) declared its independence from Ukraine (烏克蘭) on 17 March. The leaders of Crimea and the president of Russia (俄羅斯) have signed the Russia-Crimea treaty to absorb Crimea into Russia.

This dramatic result was decided in a referendum by the Crimean government on 16 March. An overwhelming 97 percent of voters supported leaving Ukraine to join Russia.

The Russian government said that it respects the outcome of the referendum. President Vladimir Putin (普京) said Crimea had always been part of Russia and that he had corrected a ‘historical injustice’.

Crimea was occupied by Russia military forces on the voting day. Western governments condemned the referendum saying that it was illegal and will not be recognised on the international stage.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said, “It is completely unacceptable for Russia to use force to change borders on the basis of a sham referendum held at the barrel of a Russian gun.”