CAITLIN MACNEAL – MARCH 26, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT1277
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on Tuesday argued that instead of labeling Russia's annexation of Crimea as "aggression," the United States should be "pleased" that Crimeans established "self-determination" for themselves.
"This is not some new Cold War that's occurring," he said during a Foreign Affairs Committee markup, as quoted by the Daily Caller. "In fact it’s quite the contrary. We should be pleased to see, pleased to see, when a virtually bloodless transfer of power establishes self-determination for two million people somewhere in the world, anywhere in world."
Grayson argued that the Crimeans determined their own fate, and were merely assisted by Russia.
"The fact is from the perspective of the Crimeans, their leader, the one that they placed in charge of their country, was thrown out of power. So it should come as no surprise, as Secretary Kerry recognized, that the Crimeans had had enough, and they wanted to leave this artificial entity called the Ukraine," he said, arguing that former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was corrupt.
"Now, in fact, the Russians did assist, they assisted by disarming the local Ukrainian army and navy. That’s what they did. They did it virtually bloodlessly. They did that so that the Ukrainian army and navy could not interfere in the referendum that was held. That’s the fact of the matter."
The United States and its allies does not officially recognize the "referendum" that took place in Ukraine, placing the word in quotation marks in several statements.
"This referendum is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement earlier this month.
Rep. Oceander Rohrabacher (R-CA) made similar claims during the markup on Tuesday. He also called the Crimean referendum an act of "self-determination" and defended the Russian annexation, in which he said "not one person was killed."