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Power play: Crimea vote on joining Russia

  • A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The  Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014.  In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats.  Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea.  (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats. Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

  • A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014.  In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats.  Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea.  (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats. Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

  • EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The  Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

    A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 6, 2014. European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit to decide on imposing sanctions against Russia over its military incursion in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 6, 2014. European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit to decide on imposing sanctions against Russia over its military incursion in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The  Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014.  In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats.  Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea.  (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
  • A Ukrainian Navy officer looks at the scuttled decommissioned Russian vessel "Ochakov" from the Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014.  In the early hours of Thursday Russian naval personnel scuttled the decommissioned ship, blockading access for five Ukrainian Naval vessels now trapped inside of the Southern Naval Headquarters located in Myrnyi in Western Crimea as Russian war vessels patrolled just of the coast. The vessel was brought by Russian naval forces on the 4th of March towed by a tug boat while escorted by a warship and several gun boats.  Marines from the Ukrainian navy heard a loud explosion in the early hours of last night coming from the vessel blocking a channel leading to the Black Sea.  (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
  • EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • EDS NOTE: NUDITY - Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • Female activist members of FEMEN go topless during their anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine demonstration in New York's Times Square, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • A woman holds a poster against war at Kiev's Independence Square, in Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The  Heads of State of the EU will meet Thursday in emergency session in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The destroyed trade union offices which was burned in clashes seen in the background  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • People attend a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25,a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • Pallbearers carry a coffin bearing the body of Andryi Pozniak, 25, a self defense volunteer who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • A Ukrainian self defense volunteer bows his head during a funeral ceremony for Andryi Pozniak, 25, who was also a self defense volunteer and who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant two days ago near Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 6, 2014. European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit to decide on imposing sanctions against Russia over its military incursion in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Ukraine lurched toward breakup Thursday when lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to voters in 10 days — and Russian lawmakers pushed a bill to facilitate a handover. President Barack Obama condemned the moves and the West answered with the first real sanctions against Russia.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said any decisions on the future of Crimea, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine, must include the country’s new government.

“The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the constitution and violate international law,” Obama said. “We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

The White House moved to impose financial sanctions and travel restrictions on opponents of Ukraine’s new government and the EU also announced limited punitive measures against Putin’s government, including the suspension of trade and visa talks.

Crimea’s parliament rammed through what amounted to a declaration of independence from Ukraine, announcing it would let the Crimean people, 60 percent of whom are ethnic Russian, decide whether they want to become part of their gigantic neighbor to the east.

“This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev,” said Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the legislature. “We will decide our future ourselves.”

Ukraine’s prime minister swiftly denounced the action. “This so-called referendum has no legal grounds at all,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

In Moscow, a prominent member of Russia’s parliament, Sergei Mironov, said he had introduced a bill to simplify the procedure for Crimea to join Russia and it could be passed as soon as next week.

On Tuesday, Putin said Russia had no intention of annexing Crimea, while insisting its population has the right to determine the region’s status in a referendum. A popular vote would give Putin a democratic fig-leaf for what would effectively be a formal takeover — although it was too early to tell whether such a move would actually go forward. The Russian president called a meeting of his Security Council on Thursday to discuss Ukraine.

In Washington, Obama sought to follow through on a threat that there will be “costs” to Russia’s actions in Ukraine — moving to enact new visa restrictions on an unspecified and unidentified number of people and entities that the U.S. accused of threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial borders.

The Europeans appeared divided between nations close to Russia’s borders, which want the bloc to stand up to Moscow, and some Western economic powerhouses — notably Germany — that were taking a more dovish line.

EU economic sanctions against Russia could prove painful for Europe as well — since Russia could hit back by turning off the taps to natural gas that is an urgent need for many European countries, including regional giant Germany.

The fallout for Europe from any action targeting influential Russian oligarchs or corporations would also be great. Russian investors hold assets worth billions in European banks, particularly in Britain — which is reluctant to undermine its massive financial services industry. Russia, the EU’s third biggest trading partner, bought $170 billion in European machinery, cars and other exports in 2012.

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