SIMFEROPOL, March 6 (RAPSI) – Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on Thursday has decided to join the Russian Federation, according to the document sent to RIA Novosti by Crimean lawmaker Sergei Shuvainikov.

According to the document, the Supreme Council of Autonomous Republiv of Crimea has officialy petitioned the Russian Presdient and The Federation Council with a proposal to integrate the region as a sbuject of the Russian Federation.

Crimea, a peninsula of some 2 million people, has resisted the authority of the leadership that came to power last month after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, which followed months of mainly peaceful protests in Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin this week described the current Ukrainian government as illegitimate, in effect bolstering the Crimean government’s position.

On February 25 a group of Crimean residents started an open-ended protest rally at the parliament building. They demand that the republican parliament refuse to recognize the new Ukrainian leadership, which has come to power through public unrest and bloody clashes in Kiev, and hold a referendum to choose the development path for the Crimea.

On February 27, Vasily Aksyonov, leader of the “Russian Unity” movement was appointed prime minister. Later, Aksyonov declared that more than 5,500 of Ukrainian soldiers defected to the command of the autonomous republic of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said that the current Crimean Prime Minister was legitimate, as all necessary and lawful procedures in his election were compliant with the law.

Russia’s upper house of parliament approved the use of the armed forces in Ukraine – which shares an extensive land border with Russia – over the weekend, which was criticized by the US and a number of European countries.