Crimea, Ukraine or Russia?

A region called Crimea has decided to switch countries! Crimea was a part of Ukraine. It recently declared itself independent from Ukraine and now claims to be part of Russia. However, Ukraine is saying this is illegal, as the people living in Crimea can’t just decide that the region is now a part of another country.

Crimea was an autonomous region of Ukraine. This means it controled some of its own services and had its own parliament. Many people living in Crimea considered themselves as “Russians”, even though the area was legally part of Ukraine.

Since November last year, there has been unrest in Ukraine. Many Ukrainians were unhappy with their government because the country’s president wanted stronger ties with Russia, whereas, the people wanted stronger ties with other European countries. In February, the president left Ukraine and a temporary government was put in place until elections are held later this year.

However, people in Crimea felt differently from many other Ukrainians. They would have preferred closer ties to Russia. The parliament of Crimea held a vote for the folks living in the region to decide if they want to be part of Ukraine or Russia, and over 96% of the people chose Russia. On March 17, Crimea declared itself an independent nation, and Russia recognized its independence. Then Crimea asked to be part of Russia, and Russia accepted.

Moscow, the capital of Russia, and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, are in two different time zones. They are two hours apart, so if it is 5AM in Kiev, it is 7AM in Moscow. Crimea currently follows the time of Kiev, and as of March 30, is going to change over to Moscow time.

A battle fought in an area of Crimea called Balaclava in 1854 led to the names of two types of clothing. The British soldiers, who were fighting the Russians at the time, wore a wool garment on their heads and faces to keep themselves warm. This is how the ski-mask called balaclava got its name. The other is the cardigan, a sweater that buttons up in the front. In this battle, the troops of one of the British officers named James Brudenel, 7th Earl of Cardigan, wore such sweaters and the cardigan is named after him.

Here is a video showing how the borders of countries in Europe have changed in the last thousand years.

Did you know?

In September, an area of the United Kingdom called Scotland will conduct a vote for the people living there to decide if they would like Scotland to be a separate country. This vote is being done with the consent of the United Kingdom’s government, and is considered “legal”.

Image Credits: for balaclava’s image, Don Alessandro and Schwarzorange for map of Ukraine