MOSCOW (AP) — There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm in Russia for bringing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea back into Russian territory.
Tens of thousands of people crowded into Moscow's Red Square today, waving flags and chanting, "Crimea is Russia!" And a Russian parliamentary leader promised today that Crimea would be welcomed as an "equal subject" of Russia.
It now belongs to Ukraine, but the parliament there has called for a referendum later this month -- in which residents will decide if they want to be a part of Russia.
President Barack Obama has called the move a violation of international law. The White House is preparing sanctions against Russia because of its deployment of troops in Crimea.
But according to a Russian statement, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) has warned Secretary of State John Kerry that sanctions over Russian actions in Crimea could backfire. The statement says Lavrov urged the U.S. not to take "hasty, poorly thought-out steps that could harm Russian-U.S. relations."