MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada voted on Saturday to dissolve the regional assembly in Crimea, one day ahead of a controversial referendum on independence from Ukraine.
A total of 278 lawmakers out of 296 registered for the vote supported the decision. The parliament’s ruling comes into effect immediately.
Ukraine's Constitutional Court on Friday declared unconstitutional Sunday’s referendum in the autonomous Ukrainian region with a narrow ethnic Russian majority that has refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new central government in Kiev.
The top court’s decision means that the Crimean parliament's decree to hold the vote, widely expected to back the southern Ukrainian region joining Russia, loses its effect.
Some 135 observers from 23 countries, including the United States, China and the EU, have been invited to monitor the referendum. More than 600 journalists will be covering the vote.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Saturday it will not send its observers to Crimea.