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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Mar 16, 2014 7:39 PM CDT
I just realized, my real estate will go up in value :)
Mar 16, 2014 6:55 PM CDT
Propaganda machine is in full swing. I saw one site that had the headline, "Crimea Votes to Leave Russia". The article of course stated the opposite, but a lot of people wouldn't bother to click. Robert Parry has a good analysis: As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.” The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.
Mar 16, 2014 6:34 PM CDT
A. The people have spoken. B. Of course America, the promoter of democracy and hyprocracy, doesn't like when they vote the "wrong" way. C. It's NOT OUR BUSINESS, Jesus H. Christ people! We can't tell other countries who they can support or who they want to be part of. This is ridiculous.