This Sunday the residents of Crimea will have the option to vote in a referendum on the future of the Ukrainian peninsula.
However, residents of Crimea who want to keep the region as an autonomous republic within Ukraine will not have the option to indicate that preference in Sunday's planned vote.
According to Reuters, voters will be able to vote "yes" in response to one of the following:
Are you in favour of the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation?
Are you in favour of restoring the 1992 Constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?
As Reuters explains, the second option is not much better than the first:
…the 1992 national blueprint—which was adopted soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then quickly abolished by the young post-Soviet Ukrainian state—is far from doing that.
This foresees giving Crimea all the qualities of an independent entity within Ukraine—but with the broad right to determine its own path and choose relations with whom it wants—including Russia.
With the pro-Russian assembly already saying it wants to return Crimea to Russia, this second option only offers a slightly longer route to shifting the peninsula back under Russian control, analysts say.
As Ed Krayewski explained over at Reason 24/7, American officials expect for most of the voters to back the first option and American officials have warned of "very serious" consequences if Russia does not back off Ukraine.
More from Reason on Ukraine here.