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NATO blasts Crimea referendum

Voters in the a disputed territory controlled by Ukraine voted today on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Early exit polls indicated that a huge majority are in favor of joining Russia. Most people in Crimea speak the Russian language and share customs of the Russian people.

The BBC reported that crowds of pro-Moscow voters celebrated in the main city of Simferopol, and Crimea’s pro-Russia leader said he would apply to join Russia on Monday.

Meanwhile, NATO – the major military alliance of the West – said that the referendum is “a direct violation of the Ukrainian constitution and international law.”

Ukraine is a member of NATO.

NATO said that holding the referendum would undermine international efforts to find a peaceful and political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and it would run counter to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

NATO called on the the Russian Federation to “act responsibly, uphold its obligations under international law and abide by the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace. Dialogue and negotiations should be given a chance to succeed in bringing about a de-escalation of the situation and a political solution.”

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