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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine: Crimea’s regional parliament has declared the region an independent state, after its residents voted overwhelmingly to break off from Ukraine and seek to join Russia, news agencies reported.
Sunday’s referendum is not recognized by the West, and the United States and the European Union are preparing sanctions against Russia, whose troops have been occupying Crimea for several weeks.
A delegation of Crimean lawmakers is set to travel to Moscow Monday for negotiations on how to proceed further. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is just a matter of time.
In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament, seeking to boost the country’s military force in the face of Russia’s takeover of the Crimea peninsula, endorsed on Monday a presidential decree to carry out a partial mobilization involving 40,000 reservists.
Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, told parliament that 20,000 reservists would be deployed within the armed forces and the rest would be used within the newly-created National Guard.