(SIMFEROPOL, Crimea) -- The Crimean Peninsula appears ready to join the Russia Federation following Sunday’s referendum showing more than 95 percent of voters supporting a split from Ukraine.
All that’s left now is for the Russian parliament to approve annexation on March 21, the same day when a temporary truce ends between the interim Ukrainian government in Kiev and Moscow.
Long before the final tallies came in, the Obama administration rejected the legitimacy of Sunday’s vote as White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, "We reject the referendum that took place today in Crimea.”
In its statement, the White House repeated its position on Ukraine, calling Russia's incursion "dangerous and destabilizing" and warning of "increasing costs for Russia."
There has also been talk of the U.S. and European Union joining forces to impose punishing economic sanctions on Moscow for its move into eastern Ukraine and failure to recognize Ukraine’s new leaders following the ouster in late February of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych.
President Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday and "emphasized that the Crimean 'referendum,' which violates the Ukrainian constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention, would never be recognized by the United States and the international community," according to a readout of the call.
Obama also "emphasized that Russia’s actions were in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that, in coordination with our European partners, we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions," the White House said.
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