The Crimean parliament on March 17 formally declared the region independent and asked to join the Russian Federation following a popular vote to secede from Ukraine. The US and EU have called the vote illegal, and the EU stated that the vote's outcome would not be recognized. The US on March 17 announced sanctions against seven Russian officials while the EU's foreign ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine. Though the government in Kiev refuses to recognize the results of the vote, Moscow considers the vote legitimate. The Crimea region, which has been under the control of pro-Russia forces since late February, has appealed to other countries as well as the UN to recognize Crimean independence. As a result of the vote, Crimean officials claim Ukrainian laws no longer apply in the region, and Ukrainian state property there will be nationalized and made part of the property of the Crimean Republic.
From Jurist, March 17. Used with permission.