Tensions escalate between Ukraine and its semi-autonomous region of Crimea as the southern peninsula continues efforts to join Russia. Now Crimean lawmakers have voted in favor of moving eastwards, and holding a referendum to join Russia.
As Crimean MPs voted on the issue, people gathered outside the local parliament building to show support for the action. Ukrainian authorities are outraged at Crimea’s plan, with the economic minister calling it illegitimate. But the Crimean first deputy prime minister says the region is already part of Russia, and the vote is only needed to stamp this. Rustam Temir-galiyev says the peninsula is ready to use the Russian currency, if Moscow accepts its request to join the Russian mainland. He also says that from now on, Crimea considers all Ukrainian armed forces in its territory as occupiers. He added that all Ukrainian state property there, will be nationalized.