Crimea Declares Independence From Ukraine

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This Sunday, citizens of the Crimean Peninsula voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Ukraine and join Russia.

The referendum offered voters the chance to either declare independence from Ukraine and seek annexation from Russia or stay a part of the Ukraine but with greater autonomy.

Crimeans chose independence overwhelmingly with an astounding 97 percent of them reportedly voting in favor of the referendum.

Western leaders rejected the results, calling the referendum and Russian intervention within Crimea illegal.  The Ukrainian government has accused the Russians of orchestrating the entire event at gunpoint.

The controversy began in the wake of the Ukrainian political upheaval. Claiming to be protecting the ethnic Russians, who are the majority in the area from retaliation by pro- Western forces, Russia sent troops into Crimea effectively seizing the area from Ukrainian control.

Now in response, the United States and European Union have leveled travel bans and economic sanctions on those deemed responsible for the upheaval in the Ukraine, and Japan has suspended planned talks with Russia in response to the controversy.

With Crimean lawmakers visiting Moscow to discuss the possibility of annexation, the Russian parliament is expected to vote on the issue within the near future.

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