Both Illinois senators — Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk on Sunday said the vote in Crimea to split from Ukraine was not legitimate. Durbin returned to Chicago this weekend after a two-day visit to Kiev.
Kirk said in a statement, “I join the Ukranian-American community in condemning the illegitimate referendum held in Crimea today that clearly violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law. Like the 1956 uprising in Hungary and the 1968 Prague Spring, we are witnessing an authoritarian Russia invade its neighbors to crush democracy and freedom. At this critical moment, the West must unite to prevent Putin from moving further into mainland Ukraine by imposing a high cost for his actions, including tough sanctions and international isolation. I stand with the more than 50,000 Ukrainian-American constituents in Illinois in support of a democratic Ukraine as part of Europe whole, free, and at peace.”
Earllier on Sunday, Durbin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “First, this election or referendum is a lame excuse by Putin to invade Crimea and take it over.
“You know, when you move in thousands of Russian troops from Sochi Olympics to garrison their positions in Crimea, then to have these masked gunmen with automatic weapons and no insignia roaming the streets, what a– what a delightful election atmosphere. This is a Soviet-style election, we know what– what the ending is going to be. Now the west has to decide– not just the west, but the civilized world has to decide whether we’re going to do anything to stop Putin’s design,” he said.