Crimean status referendum, 2014 was a referendum on the status of Crimea held on March 16, 2014, by the legislature of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as by the local government of Sevastopol, both subdivisions of Ukraine. The referendum asked the people of Crimea whether they wanted to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they wanted to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine.
The available choices did not include keeping the status quo of Crimea and Sevastopol as they were at the time the referendum was held. Since the 1992 constitution accords greater powers to the Crimean parliament including full sovereign powers to establish relations with other states, many commentators argued that both available referendum choices would result in de facto separation from Ukraine.
The Supreme Council of Crimea considered the ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution as a coup and the new interim government in Kiev as illegitimate and stated that the referendum was a response to these developments. The final date and ballot choices were set only ten days before the plebiscite was held. The referendum was regarded as illegitimate by most countries including all European Union members, the United States and Canada because of the events surrounding it including the plebiscite being held while the peninsula was occupied by Russian soldiers.Thirteen members of the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of a resolution declaring the referendum invalid, but Russia vetoed it and China abstained. A United Nations General Assembly resolution was later adopted, by a vote of 100 in favor vs. 11 against with 58 abstentions, which declared the referendum invalid and affirmed Ukraine's territorial integrity. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People called for a boycott of the referendum.
Russia officially recognized the results of the Crimean referendum and claims that unilateral Kosovo declaration of independence has set a precedent, which allows secession of Crimea from Ukraine. Such parallels, however, are disputed by some legal scholars.
The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout. The Mejlis Deputy Chairman Akhtem Chiygoz stated that the actual turnout could not have exceeded 30–40 percent. In an interview on 22 January 2015 Igor Strelkov admitted that his militia group coerced Crimean deputies to vote in favor of secession from Ukraine.
Following the referendum, The Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council declared the independence of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine and requested to join the Russian Federation. On the same day, Russia recognized the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign state.