People in Crimea get today a chance to decide on their future: whether to stay as a part of Ukraine on conditions of wide autonomy or become an integral part of Russia. According to polls of 600 residents taken Thursday and Friday ahead of the referendum, 70% of the residents said they will vote to become part of Russia, while 11 percent said they will vote to restore Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine.
Oksana Gaman-Golutvina, chairperson of the Russian Association of Political Science, pointed out that opinions about a non-recognition of the outcome of the referendum had been made public prior to the plebiscite. "This kind of judgements usually happen to be prejudiced. Much more trust is aroused by the opinion of analysts, both Russian and foreign ones, of whom there are more than 150 from 23 countries, who with one voice speak about lackof any significant infractions. And this engenders trust," she emphasized.
97% of Kerch residents vote for Crimea's reunification with Russia
As far as international reaction is concerned, it will be, according to the political scientist, "of course a stormy one, particularly on the part of Washington". "However, no one will be axing the energy-supply pipe, and no one will be imposing an embargo," Dmitry Abzalov, president of the Strategic Communications Center said.
The results of the all-Crimea referendum, in which, according to preliminary data, more than 96 percent of residents have declared in favour of joining Russia will give rise to a stormy reaction from the West, Russian experts predict.
95.7 percent voted for joining Russia - according to 75 percent of the ballots
Ukrainian Interior Ministry announces recruitment for National Guard
US President Barack Obama in phone call tells Russia's President Vladimir Putin that the US and the EU prepared "to impose additional costs" on Russia for "violating Ukraine's soveregnty" - White House statement
Crimean referendum turnout was 81.36 on 22:00 pm Moscow Time (18:00 GMT) - the head of the referendum organizing commission, Mikhail Malyshev
Exit poll data in Crimean referendum coincide with the results of preliminary data - VTSIOM
Turnout in the referendum in Crimea at 22:00 GMT AT 22:00 pm Moscow Time (18:00 GMT) was 81.37 percent and was attended by over 1 million 250 thousand voters - official
“The Crimean parliament will gather for an extraordinary session at 10:00 on March 17 to approve the results of the referendum. In the afternoon the parliament’s delegation will leave for Moscow for further consultations with Russian colleagues over the accession to Russia as a constituent entity,” Crimean PM Aksyonov said.
Next week Crimea to officially introduce ruble as 2nd official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna - Crimean PM Aksyonov
Thousands of Crimeans celebrate referendum results
Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which the voters expressed their will on the future of their region, is a historic moment for Russia, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in an interview with the Moscow-based Pervy television channel.
About 40% of Crimean Tatars took part in the referendum, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said on Channel 1.
Public rally in support of referendum gathers in Simferopol
“At present, polling stations have started to calculate votes. We’ll wait for the results,” the referendum commission chairman, Mikhail Malyshev, said on Sunday.
Nothing can influence results of Crimean plebiscite – referendum commission chairman
Mateusz Piskorski (Poland), head of the international observers, told reporters during the press conference that a final declaration on referendum in Crimea will be presented on March 17. "Tomorrow morning we will present our final declaration,” he said.
International observers will present a final declaration on referendum in Crimea on March 17
#Crimea was transferred from Russia in 1954 Ethnic Russians - 58.5% Ethnic Ukrainians - 24.4% Crimean Tatars - 12.1%
The deputiees of the European Union participated as international observers at the referendum in Crimea.
Some 2,500 officers from the interior ministry, the emergency situations ministry and volunteers ensured security during the referendum.
A total of 135 observers from 23 countries of the world and 240 observers from Crimean public organizations and political parties monitored the Crimean referendum.
International observers monitoring the Sunday referendum in Crimea have registered no major violation, the Crimean News Agency reported. "The observers did not register serious violations. Every resident of the peninsula had a chance to freely express his opinion," the report says.
International observers monitoring the Sunday referendum in Crimea have registered no major violation, the Crimean News Agency reported.
The voter turnout exceeded 80%, the Crimean News Agency reported. The voting ended at 20:00 pm local time. Crimeans were able to cast votes at 1,205 polling station.
A total of 93% of residents of Crimea voted for joining Russia at a referendum on Sunday, an exit poll publicized by the Rossiya 24 TV channel shows. Seven percent of Crimeans favored being a part of Ukraine, it shows.
The US is rejecting the vote in Crimea even before the results are released.
There are no complaints registered during the referendum in Crimea, Mikhail Malyshev, head of Central Electoral Commission in Crimea, said during the press conference.
Voters in Crimea back the Ukrainian region's accession to Russia by 93 per cent, according to an exit poll's result shown on Russian state TV.
According to preliminary data, 93 % of voters in Crimea supported union with Russia, RIA Novosti reports.
Mass media cover the voting at polling stations in Crimea freely, Crimean Information Minister Dmitry Polonsky said on Sunday.
The turnout at the referendum currently underway in Crimea will be not less than 80%, Crimean Information Minister Dmitry Polonsky said on Sunday.
The government of Crimea is planning to introduce the ruble in early April, the republic’s First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said.
Voter turnout at the Crimean referendum had reached 75.9% by 8 p.m. local time (4 pm GMT), Referendum Commission Chairman Mikhail Malyshev has announced.
“No pressure has been put on voters - this is our main impression,” the observer said.
Another Serbian observer, Zoran Radojicic, said they had visited eight polling stations in Simferopol, Alushta and Yalta. “We talked with many members of election commissions and people taking part in the referendum. The referendum is organized very well,” Radojicic said.
“We were surprised by the number of people at the polling stations,” Baborac said.
“People expressed their will by democratic means,” Serbian public figure Milenko Baborac said.
Serbia’s observer said on Sunday the referendum on Crimea’s status was being held freely and corresponded to the norms of international law.
The turnout at the referendum in Crimea exceeds 73 percent two hours before the polls are set to close.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has discussed ways to normalize the situation in Ukraine and to assist this process internationally, including in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's format, with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“I have seen no violations there. People have been voting as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. Everything is like at elections in Italy. The way it should be everywhere,” Berto said. The Italian observer said the plebiscite was being held “amid complete freedom and democracy.”
A European Parliament member has found that the process of voting in Crimea’s referendum looks pretty much like elections in his home country, Italy. The man, Fabrizio Berto, a member of the European Parliament said.
The voter turnout at the referendum in Crimea was 70 percent by 5 pm local time (3 pm GMT), according to the referendum’s official website.
The two leaders praised the way the referendum had been organized and the fact that the people of Crimea had been given a chance to freely express its will on the issue of fundamental significance for them, the report said.
The preliminary results of the Crimea-wide referendum in Sevastopol will be announced at 10:20 pm local time (8:20 pm GMT)
Russia’s State Duma member Oleg Denisenko, currently in Crimea, said he has noticed nothing that might look like a boycott of the plebiscite by the Crimean Tatars.
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Lavrov confirms Moscow's fundamental position on Crimean referendum in telephone talks with Kerry - Russian Foreign Ministry
Voter turnout has reached 63.97% in the Crimean referendum, Crimean Referendum Commission Mikhail Malyshev told reporters.
"The Russian and German leaders discussed the current crisis in Ukraine, as well as the Crimean referendum being held on Sunday. Putin said that the Crimean referendum is proceeding in full compliance with international law, first of all Article 1 of the UN Charter, which seals the principle of the nations' equality and right to self-determination. Putin also said that Russia will respect the Crimean residents' choice," the Kremlin press service said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held telephone talks on Sunday, the Kremlin press service reported.
No facts of inappropriate behaviour at polling stations in Sevastopol have not been reported.
"Practically, it can be declared an accomplished occurrence," he said when asked w whether the referendum, which is to decide whether the Crimea will reunite with Russia or stay within Ukraine, can be descried as an accomplished fact.
Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said that the Crimean referendum may be declared an accomplished fact.
Russia’s Muslims will support the people of Crimea in their decision to be made in today’s referendum, the head of the Central Muslim Board of Russia, Talgat Tadjuddin, said on Sunday.
The demonstrators are chanting “Referendum!”, “Russia!” and “We are with you, Crimea!”.
A crowd of 3,000 gathered for a rally in the centre of Ukraine’s eastern industrial centre of Kharkov on Sunday afternoon to press for converting Ukraine into a federation.
Turnout at the crucial Crimean referendum on independence from Ukraine has exceeded a half of all registered voters and now stands at 54 percent, according to the voting committee’s data.
The voter turnout in Crimea reached 44.7% by noon local time (2:00 p.m. Moscow time), Mikhail Malyshev, the head of the Crimean Supreme Council's commission in charge of the organization of the referendum, told a briefing on Sunday.
Two choices the voters are given in the ballot during the Crimean referendum with the voters able to choose only one:
1) in favor of the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation;
2) in favor of restoring the 1992 Constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine.
A referendum in Crimea is in progress in a calm atmosphere and there are all reasons to forecast a very high turnout upon its results, observers from Russia’s Public Chamber told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
As of midday (10 am GMT), referendum turnout in Sevastopol reached 50 percent, the city authority says.
No incidents or violations of public order were registered in Crimea as of 11:00 a.m. local time (1:00 p.m. Moscow time), Lieutenant-Colonel Olga Kondrashova, press officer for the Crimean police, said.
Almost one-third of the people who have a right to vote had voted as of 10:00 a.m. - media.
Enrique Ravello, an international election monitor and a Spanish parliamentarian from Catalonia, said voter activity is high at the Crimean referendum. "I have visited three polling stations. The voting is generally going fine. Very many people have come to vote, the voter turnout is unprecedented," he told reporters.
Crimean Tatars are voting in the referendum on the status of Crimea and it follows from private conversations with them that they have no intention to boycott the voting, Igor Borisov, the head of the Russian Public Electoral Law Institute, said.
Aleftina Klimova, an 80-year-old resident of Sevastopol, said she wanted to re-join Russia. “I was expecting that the US, France and all of them would act in a negative way… I have not slept all night, I waited for this moment and everything is going as I wanted.”
Acting head of Sevastopol administration, Dmitry Belik, was reportedly one of the first to vote at the referendum on the status of Crimea and its port city Sevastopol on Sunday. A total of 192 polling stations are open in Sevastopol. Some 306,000 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots at the vote that will be monitored by 50 foreign watchdogs and covered by over 200 reporters from 15 countries. Sevastopol is one of two cities with special status in Ukraine, with the second being Ukraine’s capital Kiev. It is located on the Black Sea southwest coast of the Crimean Peninsula.
The European Union has said it won’t recognize the results of the ongoing Crimean referendum, adding won’t send its observers to the breakaway republic. This is according to the EU mission in Ukraine.
Crimean Supreme Council’s Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov talked to reporters, who quizzed him after he exited the polling station, saying he had voted “for a bright future.”
According to the Crimean authorities, about 135 international watchdogs have registered to monitor the referendum. They come from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland. Members of the EU and national European parliaments, international law experts and human rights activists together with 1,240 local observers are monitoring the voting at ballot stations. Mass media in the peninsula is represented by 623 accredited journalists from 169 international media outlets.
Over 10,000 troops of Crimea's newly-fledged military recently that was formed from volunteers of self-defense squads, as well as some 5,000 police officers are ensuring the referendum goes smoothly.
"People are actively voting. The people of Crimea formed lined even before polling stations opened. I believe the voter turnout will be high," says an observer with the Civil Control NGO Alexander Brod, who is currently in Simferopol monitoring the referendum. "All security measures have been taken. I would say the situation is calm… I arrived in Simferopol yesterday and I had an impression that the atmosphere in the city was festive," Brod told Interfax.
Media say Crimeans were queuing outside polling stations before 8:00 local time to be the first to vote on the fate of the autonomy.
Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov was one of the first to cast his ballot during the republic’s secession referendum, the local Kryminfo agency reports. The Crimean leader came to the polling station together with his daughter.
All 1,205 polling places across Crimea have opened and are accepting voters according to the protocol.
Reporters at the polling stations talk about a very high turnout. People have been thronging to cast their ballots since the very first moments of the referendum, they say, something the republic has last seen back in the Soviet time.
Polling stations have opened across Crimea as the population of Ukraine’s autonomous republic is voting on the future of the peninsula. They are choosing between two options, that of re-joining Russia or getting extended autonomy rights.
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