MOSCOW, March 7 (UPI) -- A day after the Crimean parliament passed a resolution to join Russia, Russia's parliamentary speaker voiced support for Crimea's separation from Ukraine.
Russian parliamentary upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko spoke out in favor Friday for the referendum the Crimean parliament put forth to hold a vote on March 16 -- rescheduled to March 30 -- for its populace to decide whether to remain a part of Ukraine or join Russia.
"Deciding to hold referendum is a sovereign right of Crimea’s legitimately elected parliament ... the right of people to self-determination has not been abolished so far."
Matviyenko compared Crimea's referendum to the upcoming referendum for Scotland's independence, pointedly asking, "I wonder why no one said that a referendum on Scotland's independence... is a priori illegal. We have not heard such opinions. ... Then why should the people of Crimea be deprived of their right to legal self-determination?"
Ukrainian government leaders, including Justice Minister Petrenko, have denounced the Crimean parliament's resolution as unconstitutional and "illegal."
[ITAR-TASS News Agency]