Russian government supports Crimean annexation


There are protests in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Search.

Tracy Chu, Staff Writer

The secession referendum in Crimea on March 16 revealed that 97 percent of Crimean voters supported leaving Ukraine to join the Russian Federation.

The Ukraine crisis began when the president of Ukraine then, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected plans from the European Union (EU) concerning improved economic ties and instead accepted Russia’s offer of reduced energy prices and loans. The people of Ukraine protested the decision, and on Feb. 22, Yanukovych was ousted by the Ukrainian parliament.

There are protests in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Search.
There are protests in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Search.

The Crimean referendum was planned by Crimea’s regional parliament and endorsed by Russia’s government, with the results threatening to further inflame the crisis.

According to the BBC, Russian president Vladamir Putin stated that Russia would support Crimea if the region voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. He argued that the people of Crimea should “have the right to decide their future.”

Sophomore Kelly Liu said, “I believe that it’s wrong for the Russians to become so involved in Ukrainian affairs. The Ukrainian crisis is considered a domestic issue, and President Obama has already warned the Russian government against any further involvement. Their interference is technically illegal, and the other countries will punish them for their actions.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government rejected the referendum as unconstitutional as the Crimea region showed support for a chance to join Russia.

According to CNN, western powers, including the United States and their European allies, stated that the referendum was “unconstitutional, illegal, and a fraud” because Russian troops have essentially invaded Ukraine.

Western leaders widely condemned the referendum and planned to discuss economic sanctions to punish Russia.

Junior Sabrina Liu said, “I agree with the United States and their position in this whole issue. Russia should have remained neutral and shouldn’t have backed Crimea with military support.”

According to the Washington Post, United States president Barack Obama warned against further Russian intervention in Ukraine, and said that the United States “will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

The results of the referendum showed that 97 percent of voters backed the proposal to join Russia. One reason behind this outcome is the fact that people of Russian ethnicity make up much of Crimea’s population.

Sophomore Marion Demailly said, “I understand why Russia would want to support the annexation of Crimea, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. They don’t have the authority to get involved in Ukraine’s domestic affairs, and they are just complicating the issue.”

The political and economic effects of the referendum are yet to be seen, as tensions between Russia and the United States continue to increase.