Crimeans voted overwhelmingly Sunday by a 96.7pc vote to split from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The turnout was 83.1 pc of the 1,274,000 eligible voters in a referendum condemned as illegal and unconstitutional by the US and European Union. The Russian Dumas approves legislation for Crimea’s annexation on March 21. Russian officials were discussing Crimea’s annexation as a fait accompli. Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Shatalov promised the new Russian region tax breaks.
In Brussels, EU foreign ministers meet in emergency session on sanctions, such as assets freezes and travel bans for key Russian officials, plus a call for Moscow to enter into dialogue with the Ukraine interim government.