Russia will respect Crimea's 'historic' referendum choice

7 March 2014 10:16

Russia's Parliament will respect the "historic choice" to be made by Crimea when the Ukrainian region's people vote in a referendum on joining Russia later this month, the speaker of the Russian lower house said, NDTV reports.

"We will respect the historic choice of the people of Crimea," said State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, in comments strongly implying that the Russian legislature would ratify a vote in favour of joining Russia.

"We support the free and democratic choice of the population of Crimea," he added, quoted by Russian news agencies at a meeting with Crimean lawmakers.

The Crimean parliament on Thursday voted in favor of the region's joining Russia and scheduled a referendum on the issue on March 16.