SIMFEROPOL, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine on Monday, after official results showed 96.77 percent of Crimean voters chose to join Russia in Sunday's referendum.
The legislature passed an independence declaration during an extraordinary session, proclaiming the Black Sea peninsula an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea.
The declaration appeals to the United Nations and its member states to recognize its existence and promises to "build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, good neighborliness and other universally recognized principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation."
The parliament has also formally sent application to the Kremlin to join the Russian Federation as a new republic.
A delegation of Crimean authorities is expected to arrive in Moscow later in the day to discuss the procedure of Crimea's integration into Russia's economic and legal system.
Earlier in the month, the Crimean parliament voted to become part of Russia and passed a resolution of declaration of independence, paving the way for Sunday's referendum.
Ukrainian authorities have dismissed the referendum as "illegal," saying it violates the country's constitution.
"Crimea is a territory of the Ukrainian state. Our citizens reside there. We do not recognize and will never recognize the so-called referendum," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said.
Western countries including the United States, France, Germany and Britain also rejected the referendum, calling the vote "illegal" and "contrary to the Ukrainian constitution."
Backgrounder: Timeline of major events in Crimea
Backgrounder: Referendums held in Crimea
96.77 pct Crimean voters favor joining Russia: revised official results
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea, March 17 (Xinhua) -- A whopping 96.77 percent of Crimean voters chose to join Russia in Sunday's referendum on the status of Ukraine's autonomous republic, according to revised official results. Full story
West denies Crimea referendum, China calls for de-escalation of Crimea crisis
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Official results showed on Monday that 96.6 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia at Sunday's referendum.
Crimeans in Simferopol and Sevastopol were seen already waiting for celebrations of the referendum outcome. Full story
U.S. rejects referendum in Crimea
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Sunday rejected a referendum in Crimea, in which exit polls showed a majority of voters in the autonomous republic of Ukraine voted to rejoin Russia, threatening "increasing costs" for Russia for its " military intervention and violation of international law." Full story
China makes proposals on political solution to Ukraine crisis
UNITED NATIONS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Saturday made a three-point proposal on seeking a political solution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis, stressing that the key to resolving the crisis is to settle differences through dialogue and negotiations. Full story
China urges against confrontation on Ukraine crisis
BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- China on Sunday called for a political solution instead of confrontation after the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
"China does not agree to a move of confrontation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in response to a question after the vote on Saturday. Full story