The Crimean Parliament is moving quickly to split from Ukraine after voters in the region overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Officials say that nearly 97% of Crimean voters sided with Russia on the referendum that would split Crimea from Ukraine.
The Parliament in Crimea has formally asked Russia to annex the republic and is moving to sever ties with Ukranian authorities in Kiev. International criticism over the referendum has been an underlying concern throughout the process.
In a U.S. sponsored U.N. resolution that would have invalidated the referendum, China abstained, leaving Russia as the only vetoing nation, “isolated,” according to U.N. Ambassadors from the U.S. and Britain.
While many Ukrainians are feeling dejected about the loss of Crimea, the Ukrainian government has spoken out strongly against the referendum, which it has declared illegal, and has said Ukraine is prepared to use military force. President Obama has authorized sanctions on Russian officials over the Crimea vote.
How will things proceed in Crimea? Will the escalation of tensions in the region instigate military action? What role does the U.S. play in Russia/Ukraine/Crimea negotiations?
Will Pomeranz, Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank focused on international affairs