Russian President Putin declares Crimea's independenceUpdated: 2014-03-18 15:59:48 KST
Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken another step toward annexing Crimea.
On Tuesday morning, he formally notified his parliament of Crimea's request to join Russia.
This comes after President Putin signed a decree on Monday to recognize the Republic of Crimea as "sovereign" and "independent."
The executive order came just hours after the European Union and the U.S. imposed sanctions and asset freezes against Russian and Ukrainian officials.
"we are imposing sanctions on specific individuals responsible for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine."
The sanctions, which include travel bans were in retaliation for Sunday's referendum vote in Crimea which was deemed illegal by Western leaders.
In the referendum, an overwhelming majority approved of leaving Ukraine, and joining Russia.
The results brought joy to Russians, not only in Crimea but also in Moscow.
"It's legal. I support Putin. I'm for reuniting Russian borders and the reunion of the Russian people."
Up to 60 percent of the residents in Crimea are Russian but ethnic Tatars, who make up more than 10 percent of Crimea's population. are concerned about inter-ethnic conflict.
"Of course we are afraid, but what can we do? Certainly not run away anywhere. No, we don't have that in our minds. I can't even think about it."
The Crimean parliamenthas declared all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula as property of the Crimean Republic.
Meanwhile in Ukraine its parliament has approved the mobilization of up to 40-thousand troops to counter "Russian interference" in the country.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.
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