Crimea Reports Landslide in Russia Vote
95% want union with Russia, officials say
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
Updated Mar 16, 2014 4:41 PM CDT
An Ukrainian policeman exits a voting booth after casting his vote in Perevalne, Ukraine, Sunday, March 16, 2014.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

(Newser) – Nothing like a nail-biter: 95% of voting Crimeans want closer union with Russia and only 5% prefer greater independence from Ukraine, according to an official tally of half the ballots in today's vote, CNN reports. Crimean officials hailed the vote as an example of democracy in action while Western officials declared it illegal, reports the BBC. "There are no problems at polling stations," said Sergey Aksyonov, who took over Crimea's regional government once Russian forces seized power. "I don't feel or see that any pressure is being applied."

The Russian news agency that reported earlier exit polls said more than 85% of Crimea's 1.5 million eligible voters turned out to vote, Haaretz reports. Meanwhile, pro-Russian protesters have stormed the prosecutor's building in the south-east Ukrainian city of Dontesk, chanting "Donetsk is a Russian city" and demanding that pro-Russian leader Pavel Gubarev be released. A pro-Ukrainian activist was killed there during clashes yesterday, CNN reports in an article headlined, "Could Donetsk Go in the Same Way as Crimea?" Click for more on the vote or read about Russians who seized a Ukrainian village.

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