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Ahead of the scheduled Sunday referendum in Crimea, Becky discovered more about the legal issues surrounding the Ukrainian crisis by speaking to Marc Weller, Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge.
Weller told her that one significant fact was that Russia has formally confirmed in the past that it has no territorial claims towards Ukraine.
According to Weller, the upcoming Crimean referendum would not be recognised under international law. "You cannot hold a referendum ever under circumstances of use of force of a neighbouring state." Weller also said that a referendum should be the “final step” in a long process towards independence – a process which would normally include investigating whether they have a claim to self-determination, and the subsequent necessary negotiations with the Ukrainian government.
On the ousting of ex-president Yanukovych and the increased Russian presence in Crimea, Weller says that "if he cannot be president then certainly he cannot invite a foreign armed force into the country, and that's the key issue. Even if you say that formally he should still be regarded as president, if you lose control over the country to an extent that the majority of the population of parliament disowns you, you no longer have the right to ask foreign armed forces to come in."