Obama on crimea referendum

Added On March 7, 2014

Lawmakers in Crimea, the autonomous republic of Ukraine, have voted to join Russia.
They also decided to hold a referendum in 10 days time on whether the Black Sea peninsula will become part of Russia or remain in Ukraine.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that the proposed upcoming referendum would violate Ukraine's Constitution and international law.
Meanwhile, Russia has accused the United States of double standards with regards to Moscow's assertions about the developments in Ukraine. 
Speaking on the Ukraine crisis at the White House, Obama said the U.S. has been mobilizing the international community to "condemn" Russia's "violation of international law" and support the people and government of Ukraine since Russia's "intervention" of Crimea.
The U.S. President noted that, in order to impose costs on Russia for its actions, he signed an executive order earlier Thursday.
Under the order, the U.S. is putting in place visa restrictions and moving to freeze U.S. assets of those involved in Russia's move on Ukraine
Obama also called for allowing international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are respected, including those of the Ukrainian Russians.
He added Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea if it abides by its agreements with Ukraine and respect the Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the United States neither had nor could have the right to moralize about compliance with international law and respect for the sovereignty of other countries.
The 100-seat parliament in Crimea, which enjoys a degree of autonomy, voted unanimously in favor of holding the referendum on March 16, and for joining Russia.
A referendum had previously been scheduled in the peninsula on March 30.
Most Crimean citizens told CNC that the coming referendum is necessary and should decide the their future by themselves.
SOUNDBITE (RUSSIAN): Citizen in Simferopol 
"All is fine here, as you see people are working and living as usual. As to the referendum, finally for the last 20 years we will have the chance to vote in the referendum and make decision independently. We are young generation, and we wait for the referendum which will reflect the reality as it is."
The strategic peninsula of Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority, is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet.
It has become an epicenter of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by the parliament on Feb. 22.