Associated Press style change: Crimea no longer in Ukraine

Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

The news wire issued a style change on Wednesday about how to identify Crimea, a peninsula that Russia moved to annex from Ukraine a day earlier.

“Previously, we wrote ‘SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP).’ But Ukraine no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground,” the news wire wrote in a guidance. 

Effective this week, the AP said it will now name a city and then Crimea. 

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An overwhelmingly majority of Crimeans voted on Sunday in a referendum to secede and join Russia.

The United States and its European allies have hailed the referendum and annexation as illegitimate, illegal and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

President Obama has said the U.S. will not recognize Crimea as being a part of Russia. 

The AP explained why it wouldn’t identify the city of Sevastopol as being in Russia given the annexation. 

“The reason is that Crimea is geographically distinct from Russia; they have no land border,” the AP said. “Saying just the city name and “Crimea” in the dateline, even in the event of full annexation, would be consistent with how we handle geographically separate parts of other countries.” 

In cases where the AP identifies Sicily or Sardinia, for instance, those names are used in datelines even though they are part of Italy.