SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine appears to be headed toward a possible breakup -- after lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared that they want to join Russia, and that they will put the decision to voters in ten days.
Russian lawmakers, meanwhile, pushed a measure that would make possible a handover of Crimea.
The action in Crimea's parliament was essentially a declaration of independence from Ukraine. The parliament said the Crimean people -- 60 percent of whom are ethnic Russian -- will decide whether they want to be a part of Russia.
In Kiev, Ukraine's prime minister quickly denounced the action. Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') said the "so-called referendum" has "no legal grounds at all."
President Barack Obama says the vote would violate international law -- as well as Ukraine's constitution.
And at an emergency EU summit in Brussels, a senior Western diplomat promised that EU leaders would make it clear that the referendum won't be recognized. The EU later announced that the bloc would suspend talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic pact and on a visa deal, and that it would consider further steps if Russia doesn't quickly open meaningful dialogue on Ukraine.
206-a-08-(NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-durz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn), at news conference)-"the 21st century"-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urges Russia to step back from Ukraine. (6 Mar 2014)
<<CUT *206 (03/06/14)££ 00:08 "the 21st century"
205-a-17-(NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-durz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn), at news conference)-"the Cold War"-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia's intervention in Ukraine sounds an alarm for all of Europe, and beyond. ((note length of cut)) (6 Mar 2014)
<<CUT *205 (03/06/14)££ 00:17 "the Cold War"
APPHOTO DCPM112: President Barack Obama talks about the situation in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. The president said a referendum for Ukraine's Crimea region to separate and become part of Russia would violate international law. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (6 Mar 2014)
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APPHOTO VLM305: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 6, 2014. European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit to decide on imposing sanctions against Russia over its military incursion in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) (6 Mar 2014)
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