“Ukraine lurched toward breakup Thursday as lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to voters in 10 days.
“President Barack Obama condemned the move and the West answered with the first real sanctions against Russia.
“Speaking from the White House, Obama said any decisions on the future of Crimea, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine, must include the country’s new government.
“The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the constitution and violate international law,” Obama said. “We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin was almost certainly behind Thursday’s dramatic developments, but it was not clear whether he is aiming for outright annexation, or simply strengthening his hand in talks with the West.”
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