Skip to main content

U.N. General Assembly resolution calls Crimean referendum invalid

By Alex Felton and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
updated 2:26 PM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.N. General Assembly's nonbinding resolution indicates Russia's isolation over Crimea
  • Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she plans to run in Ukraine's May elections
  • Presidential elections are scheduled for May 25
  • The International Monetary Fund announces a bailout deal worth billions for Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) -- The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution calling the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine invalid.

The vote on the nonbinding resolution was 100-11, with 58 countries abstaining.

It's the latest indication of Russia's isolation within the international community over its actions in Ukraine.

Moscow formally annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea region last week, days after the controversial referendum in which a majority of Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine for Russia.

Adding to tensions, Russia now may have as many as 40,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, two U.S. officials told CNN on Thursday. The officials said that this estimate was largely based on satellite imagery and that a firm number is difficult to assess.

However, a spokesman for Ukraine's Council of National Security and Defense told CNN his government estimates 88,000 Russian troops are at the Ukrainian border.

U.S. officials said they believe the higher estimates may reflect Russian troops on alert farther to the east.

Earlier Thursday, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, released from jail last month, said she intends to run for president in May elections.

Ukraine's right-sector leader killed
A man looks at a bullet shell next to a destroyed car after a gunfight between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces in Karlivka, Ukraine, on Friday, May 23. Much of Ukraine's unrest has been centered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where separatists have claimed independence from the government in Kiev. A man looks at a bullet shell next to a destroyed car after a gunfight between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces in Karlivka, Ukraine, on Friday, May 23. Much of Ukraine's unrest has been centered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where separatists have claimed independence from the government in Kiev.
Crisis in Ukraine
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Crisis in Ukraine Photos: Crisis in Ukraine
Obama: Russia stands alone
IMF aid for Ukraine has conditions

After more than two years in prison, she was released in February after the ouster of her archrival, President Viktor Yanukovych.

She has already been Prime Minister twice before and ran for President in 2010.

"Yes, I am planning to run," she said at a news conference at her Kiev office.

Tymoshenko said she intended to ask delegates at her Batkivshchyna Party congress on Saturday to nominate her as a presidential candidate.

Ukraine's elections are taking place against a backdrop of poor economic conditions, Moscow's annexation of Crimea and rumblings of discontent in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions.

Tymoshenko's announcement came as the International Monetary Fund announced a $14 billion to $18 billion bailout for Ukraine to avoid bankruptcy. The bailout is tied to painful reforms as the country faces an escalating standoff with Russia.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday praised the loan agreement between the IMF and Ukraine, and said the United States will do its part to help, too.

Speaking with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome, Obama said he is calling on Congress to make sure the United States does its part with an economic assistance package to "support the Ukrainian people as they move forward."

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine, along with sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.

Obama said he hopes that Russia will walk through the "door of diplomacy" but that its annexation of Crimea means the United States and European Union will increase their sanctions.

Earlier this month the House of Representatives approved Ukraine loan guarantees and is now voting on sanctions.

Symbol of 'Orange Revolution'

With her trademark hair braid, Tymoshenko came to international prominence during the 2004 "Orange Revolution" that toppled Yanukovych's first administration.

A rerun of the election handed the presidency to her political ally, Viktor Yushchenko, under whom she was Prime Minister. Amid broad disappointment with that government's performance, Yanukovych was again elected in 2010.

Tymoshenko was imprisoned in 2011 in a corruption case linked to a gas deal she brokered with Russia in 2009. She served two years of a seven-year term, mainly under prison guard in a hospital in Kharkiv.

Many demonstrators carried her picture during mass anti-government protests that began in November and eventually ousted Yanukovych.

Upon her release from prison, Tymoshenko, in a wheelchair, addressed crowds in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the rallies that began when Yanukovych spurned a deal with the EU in favor of closer ties with Moscow.

Early presidential elections in Ukraine are scheduled for May 25. Former boxer Vitaliy Klitschko and billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko are also expected to take part in the elections.

Read: Yulia Tymoshenko walks out of prison, and back into Ukrainian politics

Read: Funeral for 'Robin Hood' draws Ukraine nationalists -- paramilitary to pensioner

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:17 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Donetsk's neediest line up for food handouts. There are long queues at the bus station as people try to leave town. There are no banks left open.
updated 5:25 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Barking overwhelms the thud of artillery fire. An animal shelter is crammed with 1,000 dogs, many orphans of the conflict with owners who have fled or been killed.
updated 3:51 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Reza Sayah looks into why thousands of Ukrainians have left their old lives to volunteer to fight.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks to The New Republic's Linda Kinstler about Putin's motives with Ukraine and China.
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
updated 5:58 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
The Commander of NATO forces in Europe says Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian troops -- all heading into Ukraine.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
updated 8:00 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
updated 9:12 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
updated 12:31 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
ADVERTISEMENT