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Crimea referendum: Voters 'back Russia union'

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Major Weatherly
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« on: March 16, 2014, 07:19:06 pm »

Crimea referendum: Voters 'back Russia union'




Ben Brown in Simferopol: "Ethnic Russians are celebrating what they say is an historic victory"
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Ukraine crisis

    Crimea votes Live
    Critical test for US
    Is referendum legal?
    Anti-Putin Russians

Some 95.5% of voters in Crimea have supported joining Russia, officials say. after half the votes have been counted in a disputed referendum.

Crimea's leader says he will apply to join Russia on Monday. Russia's Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the Crimean people's wishes.

Many Crimeans loyal to Kiev boycotted the referendum, and the EU and US condemned it as illegal.

Pro-Russian forces took control of Crimea in February.

They moved in after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests.
People celebrate after voting at Lenin Square in Simferopol, March 16 Pro-Moscow crowds celebrated after voting in the Crimean capital Simferopol
Tatars play chess within a market place in Bachisaray, a village with Tatar majority in Ukraine, Sunday, March 16 For ethnic Tatars, Sunday was a normal day - many boycotted the referendum
A member of a pro-Russia militia walks out of the voting cabin in Bachisaray, Ukraine, March 16 Election officials said the turnout was a record high, beating the numbers who vote in local elections

The Kremlin said Mr Putin and US President Barack Obama had spoken over the phone and agreed to seek a way to stabilise Ukraine.
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“Start Quote

    The truth is that there is little that the authorities here can do without significant outside help”

image of Chris Morris Chris Morris BBC News, Kiev

    Kiev seeks West response

Shortly after polling stations closed, however, the US renewed its threat to put sanctions on Russia.

White House spokesman Jay Carney condemned the vote as "dangerous and destabilising" and said it would have "increasing costs for Russia".

The EU said in a statement that the vote was "illegal and illegitimate and its outcome will not be recognised".

EU foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday and are expected to consider imposing sanctions on Russian officials.

Some 58% of people in Crimea are ethnic Russian, with the rest made up of Ukrainians and Tatars.

Most of the Tatars that the BBC spoke to said they had boycotted the vote, and felt that life under the Kremlin would be worse.
Continue reading the main story   
Crisis timeline

    21 Nov 2013: President Viktor Yanukovych abandons an EU deal
    Dec: Pro-EU protesters occupy Kiev city hall and Independence Square
    20 Feb 2014: At least 88 people killed in 48 hours of bloodshed in Kiev
    22 Feb: Mr Yanukovych flees; parliament votes to remove him and calls election
    27-28 Feb: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in Crimean capital Simferopol
    6 Mar: Crimea's parliament asks to join Russia and sets referendum for 16 March
    15 Mar: Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution condemning Crimea independence referendum

    Wording of ballot paper
    Law and order breakdown
    Is Russian intervention legal?

Refat Chubarov, leader of the Tatars' unofficial parliament, said the referendum was illegal, and held in a hasty manner under the control of Russian troops.

"The fate of our motherland cannot be decided in such a referendum under the shadows of the guns of soldiers," he told the BBC.

The Tatars were deported to Central Asia by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. They were only able to return with the fall of the Soviet Union and many want to remain in Ukraine.

But the referendum did not have an option for those who wanted the constitutional arrangements to remain unchanged.

Voters were asked whether they wanted to join Russia, or have greater autonomy within Ukraine.

Away from the Crimea region, unrest continued in the south-east Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Pro-Russian protesters stormed the prosecutor's building shouting "Donetsk is a Russian city", and then broke into the local security services headquarters for the second time in two days.

They later dispersed but promised to return on Monday
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Major Weatherly
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 07:20:01 pm »



Pro-Moscow crowds celebrated after voting in the Crimean capital Simferopol
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Major Weatherly
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 07:20:33 pm »



For ethnic Tatars, Sunday was a normal day - many boycotted the referendum
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Major Weatherly
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 07:21:22 pm »



Election officials said the turnout was a record high, beating the numbers who vote in local elections
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Major Weatherly
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 07:21:38 pm »

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