March 6 - The Crimean parliament votes to join Russia, accelerating a push to bring the region formally under Russia's rule. Nathan Frandino reports.
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With about 100 pro-Russia supporters rallying outside the Crimean parliament, the region's governing body unanimously votes to join Russia.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CHAIRMAN OF THE RUSSIAN COMMUNITY OF CRIMEA AND CO-CHAIRMAN OF RUSSIAN UNITY PARTY, MP SERGEI TSEKOV, SAYING:
"We decided not to follow the independence path. We state clearly that we support the revival of unity between Russia and Crimea. We are for the autonomous republic of Crimea to join Russia as a subject of Russia."
Parliament also voted to push the referendum date forward to March 16 - accelerating the push to bring Crimea formally under Russia's rule.
On the streets of the Crimean capital, Simferopol, residents are divided.
This university student was interrupted by pro-Russian supporters shouting "Russia" and asking to see the student's passport.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UNIDENTIFIED UNIVERSITY STUDENT, SAYING:
"I am for Crimea to be with Ukraine. I don't want to join criminal Russia. People, watch television, tell everyone about the real situation here." (WOMAN INTERRUPTING, SAYING 'GO TO MAIDAN AND EXPRESS YOURSELF THERE') "I am a Simferopol resident, I was born and have been living in Simferopol."
Confrontations like this one have been a frequent in the mainly Russian-speaking region.
Tensions remain high as angry rhetoric continues on both sides of the issue.