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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. rejected the Crimea secession referendum Sunday as illegal and readied retaliatory penalties against Russia, while shifting sights to deterring possible military advances elsewhere in Ukraine that could inflame the crisis.
"This referendum is contrary to Ukraine's constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "The United States has steadfastly supported the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine since it declared its independence in 1991, and we reject the 'referendum' that took place today in the Crimean region of Ukraine," Carney said. Carney said Russia had spurned outreach to Ukraine and calls for international monitoring, instead escalating its military intervention into Crimea and initiating military exercises on Ukraine's eastern border.