London, Mar. 7 (ANI): The European Union and the United States have joined Ukraine's government in condemning as 'illegal' Crimea's move to set up a referendum to endorse joining Russia.
The EU, meeting in Brussels, threatened 'serious consequences' if Russia did not act to de-escalate the crisis.
According to the BBC, Crimean MPs set a date of 16 March for a vote on the referendum.
The Crimean parliament said it had decided 'to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation,' the report said.
It said it had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin 'to start the procedure'.
According to the report, President Barack Obama in a telephonic conversation with Putin urged him to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
However, Putin said that US-Russian 'relations should not be sacrificed due to disagreements over individual, albeit extremely significant, international problems'.
Obama said the Crimea referendum would 'violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law'. (ANI)