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Taiwan closely monitoring developments in Crimea

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that it is closely monitoring developments on the Crimean peninsula, after Crimeans voted in a referendum a day earlier to break with Ukraine and join Russia.

MOFA “will continue to keep close tabs on developments as they arise,” ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said, without elaborating further on Taiwan's stance on the referendum results.

Crimea has formally applied to join Russia after its leaders declared a 97-percent vote in favor of quitting Ukraine in the referendum, which has been condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West and a move that will trigger immediate sanctions.

The European Union is mulling measures such as visa bans and asset freezes for Russian and Crimean officials, according to foreign reports.

The White House has issued a statement saying that the United States rejects the referendum.

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