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Ukraine's Crimea seeks to become independent state

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 11, 2014 at 9:41 a.m.

KIEV, Ukraine — The Crimean parliament voted Tuesday that the Black Sea peninsula will declare itself an independent state if its residents agree to split off from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum.

Crimea's regional legislature Tuesday adopted a "declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea." The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote Sunday in favor of joining Russia in the referendum.

Western nations have said they will not recognize the vote as legitimate. But the move might be used as an attempt to ease tensions with Crimea existing as a self-proclaimed state without Russia moving quickly to incorporate it into its territory.

After a brief war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, some leaders sin Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia also asked to join Russia, but their request was never granted.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's acting president Tuesday called for the formation of a national guard and for the mobilization of reserves and volunteers into the country's armed forces.

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