Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has described Crimea’s referendum as a “great farce” after results showed that an overwhelming majority voted in favor of separation from the country.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, Turchynov slammed “the continued aggression in Crimea that Russia is trying to conceal with this great farce that they call a referendum and that will never be recognized either by Ukraine or by the civilized world.”
The interim president also called on the deputies to approve the mobilization of troops.
Some 95.7 percent of voters in the Republic of Crimea voted in the recent referendum to join Russia, officials said.
Earlier in the day, EU’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton said ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that Europe “should send the strongest possible signals to Russia, a signal trying to ensure that they (the Russians) understand the seriousness of the situation.”
“I call upon Russia, yet again, to meet with the Ukrainian leaders and to start dialogue with them, and to try to move towards de-escalation as quickly as possible,” she added.
EU foreign ministers will meet to agree on “targeted” sanctions against Russia or Ukraine’s pro-Russia leaders that could include an asset freeze and visa bans.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also denounced the referendum as a “mockery of proper democratic practice.”
“The UK does not recognize the referendum or its outcome, in common with the majority of the international community,” he said.
US President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Crimea’s secession from Ukraine to join Russia “would never be recognized” by Washington.