Ukraine’s Parliament voted Monday to partially mobilize the country’s military reserves amid a tense standoff with Russia following a popular vote in Crimea to secede and join Russia on Sunday, the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency reported.
A decree by acting president Oleksandr Turchynov to mobilize tens of thousands of reservists was approved of by 275 of 308 sitting deputies in a session of Ukraine’s parliament, according to the agency.
The move upped the ante in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, where demonstrations in the country’s largely Russian-speaking southeastern regions have continued to challenge the legitimacy of the new central government in Kiev that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych last month.
Last week, Moscow reaffirmed its right to take Russian-speaking compatriots under its protection following a deadly clash between demonstrators in the city of Donetsk, signaling that it is keeping a close eye on the ongoing instability in the country.
The decree passed on Monday accused Russia of violating Ukrainian sovereignty by cooperating with local armed groups in Crimea to seize key infrastructure and military bases on the peninsula in recent weeks.
The mobilization, to take part across Ukraine, is scheduled to be completed in 45 days, according to the text of the decree.