March 11, 2014 - 18:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The parliament of Crimea, a majority ethnic Russian region within Ukraine, declared independence on Tuesday, March11, ahead of a popular vote on secession and annexation by Russia, according to RIA Novosti.
The declaration comes as the latest attempt to shore up the legal basis of the upcoming referendum, which is scheduled for Sunday but has been declared unconstitutional by the country’s central leadership in Kyiv.
A representative of the regional parliament’s press office said that 78 of 100 MPs voted to declare independence.
The text of the declaration, published on the parliament’s website, claims that the action is in line with international law, specifically citing a 2010 ruling by the International Court of Justice that affirmed Kosovo had the right to declare independence from Serbia.
That ruling drew strong reactions from world leaders, with Russian officials insisting that independence for Kosovo threatened to undermine international law.
Ukraine’s parliament ordered Crimea on Tuesday to halt the popular vote on secession by Wednesday or the regional parliament would be declared dissolved.
The country's legislature also appealed to the citizens of Crimea not to take part in the vote and said that calls for Russian annexation violated the constitution, which gives only the central government the right to conduct foreign affairs.