1. ITV Report

International community condemns 'illegal' Crimean referendum

A planned referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region on whether to join Russia has sparked international condemnation, with US President Barack Obama claiming the move "violated international law and the Ukrainian constitution".

The Crimean people will be asked whether they want to leave Ukraine to become part of the Russian federation instead in 10 days time.

ITV News' International Correspondent John Irvine reports from Crimea:

After MPs in the Crimean parliament unanimously voted in favour of the referendum, Ukraine's acting president Oleksander Turchinov said it was "a farce, a fake and a crime against the state which is organised by the Russian Federation's military".

Mr Turchinov said the Ukrainian parliament would initiate procedures to block the referendum and dismiss the Crimean assembly.

A ship scuttled over overnight to prevent the Ukrainian navy getting into the Black Sea. Credit: ITV News

Barack Obama condemned the move and said "any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine".

"The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law," the US President said.

"In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."

Moscow loyalists appear outside the parliament in Crimea. Credit: ITV News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the decision to hold the referendum was illegal.

Pro-Russian supporter Nikita Ivanov said the referendum was a "very good idea" because of the large amount of ethnic Russians in the region which make up 55 per cent of the population.

Pro-Russian supporter Nikita Ivanov said the referendum was a 'very good idea'. Credit: ITV News

The leader of the Muslim Tartars said the referendum will mean the tearing up of every agreement that has kept Crimea peaceful.

A fellow Tatar politician claimed the rule of law had been replaced by the "rule of terror" in Crimea.

Abduraman Egiz speaking to ITV News' John Ivine. Credit: ITV News

"Our people feel unsafe in this situation where on this territory in Crimea there is no rule of law. There is a rule of terror," Abduraman Egiz said.

More on this story