"Crimea's regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a 'declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,' " The Associated Press reports. "The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in favor of joining Russia."
Russia continues to try to wrest control of Crimea from Ukraine and now has an estimated 20,000 troops there, Bloomberg News reports.
Members of pro-Russian forces and Ukraine's military have engaged in several tense standoffs in the largely autonomous region of Crimea, but they have also avoided violence in what's widely seen as a dangerous and uncertain situation. Diplomats are still working to find a possible solution.
One day after President Obama condemned steps taken by Crimea's parliament to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers are welcoming such a move by Crimean separatists.
While conceding that his nation can't come close to the military power of Russia, the interim prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that "we are ready to protect our country" if Russia does not stop its "military aggression" in Crimea.
Despite what Russia's President Vladimir Putin might say, the country's approach to Ukraine is a "gross violation of international law," says Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Olexander Motsyk.
The nation's largest Latino advocacy organization is taking its gloves off against one of its traditional allies.
The United States and the European Union are threatening Moscow with sanctions over Russia's move to dispatch troops into Ukrainian territory.
The Boy Scouts of America are facing more fallout over their ban on openly gay leaders — this time from Walt Disney World, which has cut off funding through its employee volunteer program.
Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico have disclosed that 13 employees inhaled radioactive material after a major accident earlier this month.