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    Crimea Parliament ‘Accelerates Crisis,’ Votes To Join Russia

    While the world is convinced that Putin’s Tuesday press conference was an admission of blinking to the west, the reality is anything but that, and hours ago Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in what Reuters said is a “a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.”

    To be sure, the Crimea — which has an ethnic Russian majority — affiliation to Moscow as opposed to Kiev is well-known, yet still the sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea formally under Moscow’s rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation.

    And now all Putin has to do is sit back and say the people have spoken and without spilling a drop of blood has effectively split the country in two parts, with the entire east of Ukraine, where pro-Russian sentiment also runs high — sure to follow Crimea. Just as we said from the very beginning.

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