MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the Crimean region of Ukraine as a sovereign independent state Monday, ignoring Western sanctions against some of his top officials.
The White House and the European Union declared Sunday's referendum in Crimea a violation of international law and followed up with travel bans and freezing of assets of Russian and Crimean officials who supported a break from Ukraine.
The sanctions came as Crimean lawmakers were already in Moscow to ask the Russia parliament to annex Crimea. The parliament, or Duma, was expected to take up the issue on Tuesday following an address by Putin.
Putin recognized Crimea as a "sovereign and independent" state as a result of the "will of the people of Crimea" as expressed at in Sunday's referendum, the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
In Kiev,the parliament endorsed a plan to mobilize 40,000 reservists to counter Russia's "blatant aggression" in Crimea and to protect possible Russian incursions in southern and eastern parts of the country, said the country's defense minister Andriy Parubiy.
Ukraine acting President Oleksandr Turchynov vowed that his country will not give up Crimea to Russia, whose troops have infiltrated Crimea from a Black Sea port and sealed off border crossings into the province.
"We are ready for negotiations, but we will never resign ourselves to the annexation of our land," Turchynov said in a televised address to the nation. "We will do everything in order to avoid war and the loss of human lives.But the military threat to our state is real."
President Obama issued an executive order leveling new sanctions against seven Russian officials he says have contributed to the crisis in Ukraine and said the measures would "increase costs on Russia."
"If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions," Obama said.
The European Union said other measures would be adopted in a few days when EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels.
"The referendum is illegal and illegitimate and its outcome will not be recognized," Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission said in a joint statement Sunday.
Andrew Weiss, a White House expert on Russia and Ukraine under former president Bill Clinton, said the West must consider passing sanctions that will hurt.
"There's not enough bite in the package," he said. "You have to ask yourself what's the purpose and it's not clear."
Putin said he would address both houses of the Russian parliament on Tuesday to say what Russia should do. Thousands of Russian troops are drilling on Ukraine's border, raising fears that Putin may also intercede in eastern Ukraine cities where substantial populations of ethnic Russians also want to join with Moscow.
"Personally, I think there will be war," said Oleg Hadimov, who was collecting donations in Kiev for those injured during the city's winter protests against Russian-backed former president Viktor Yanukovych. "The Ukrainian army is not suited (to a fight against Russia). But the people will prevail."
"We are not going to leave"' said Akhtem Seytabla, a Tatar in Kiev. The predominately Muslim Tatars suffered greatly under Russia and the Soviet Union.
"There will be no violence from us unless there are ethnic massacres," he said. "If that happens, then we will send the women and children away and arm ourselves to defend our land."
The semi-autonomous Crimea region saw 97% of voters back a break from Ukraine, but many opponents boycotted the vote because they said it was a fraud. Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Twitter that the region would move to Russian time starting March 30.
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A delegation of Crimean lawmakers arrived in Moscow on Monday for negotiations on how to proceed. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is almost certain — with one saying it could happen within days.
"We came back home to Mother Russia. We came back home, Russia is our home," said Nikolay Drozdenko, a resident in Sevastopol, the key Crimean port where Russia leases a naval base from Ukraine.
In the Ukrainian capital, anti-government protesters are warning that the ballot may trigger chaos on the southern peninsula.
"There will be conflict for hundreds of years there," said Igor Gowashenko, a member of a civil defense group, talking about Crimea. "I'm sure the Russian army will destroy stability — by taking people's private property."
McPhedran reported from Kiev and Madhani reported from Washington. Contributing: Oren Dorell in Washington