Northern, Eastern Europe reject Crimea referendum

NARVA, Estonia (AP) — Northern and eastern European countries are rejecting the planned referendum in Crimea on joining Russia as "illegitimate" and are calling for a European Union monitoring mission in Ukraine.

Meeting Friday in Narva, an Estonian city on the Russian border, foreign ministers or their deputies from the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia said the referendum, set for mid-March, violates Ukraine's constitution and is therefore "unacceptable."

The ministers also called for diversifying Europe's energy sources, a reference to the continent's dependence on Russian gas. Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi urged the U.S. to start exporting natural gas to Europe as soon as possible.

Russia's intervention in Crimea has raised particular alarm in European countries that were under Moscow's control during the Cold War.