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You're reading: Crimea relies on mainland Ukraine for water, electricity, gas
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A Kremlin-backed government in Crimea not recognized by Kyiv or the West has scheduled a March 16 referendum on joining the Russian Federation or attaining greater autonomy under the 1992 constitution and remain a part of Ukraine. Keeping the status quo of partial autonomy is not an option on the ballot. 

Both options, amid a tense standoff where up to 30,000 armed Russian forces maintain control over the peninsula, foresee Crimea breaking further away from Ukraine. 

While the international community and Ukraine’s central government will not recognize the referendum, any change in status imposed by Russia still leaves mainland Ukraine with options.

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