KIEV: Crimea’s parliament has formally declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation.
It follows Sunday’s controversial referendum which officials say overwhelmingly backed leaving Ukraine.
A total of 93 percent voted yesterday in favor of leaving Ukraine to become part of Russia, the Republican Institute of Social and Political Studies said, citing exit polls from the vote in the Black Sea peninsula.
The government in Kiev has said it will not recognise the results. The US and EU say the vote was illegal and have vowed to impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Crimean peninsula has been under the control of pro-Russia forces since late February.
Moscow says the troops are pro-Russian self-defense forces and not under its direct control.
The crisis follows the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych on 22 February, following months of street protests and deadly clashes.