SIMFEROPOL. Russian media has reported that exit polls show the overwhelming majority of voters in Crimea supported union with Russia in the peninsula’s referendum.
Russian state news agency RIA quoted an exit poll as showing 93 percent of voters backed the move on Sunday.
Another Russian news agency, Interfax, said voter turnout had exceeded 80 percent.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s new prime minister, has said that neither Kiev nor the West would recognise the referendum’s results, which it says is being conducted at gunpoint.
“Now, on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea under the staged direction of the Russian Federation, a circus performance is underway: the so-called referendum,” Yatsenyuk told a government meeting.
“Also taking part in the performance are 21,000 Russian troops, who with their guns are trying to prove the legality of the referendum.”
In a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to respect Crimeans’ decision, and said that the referendum complied with international law.
There were two options available in the referendum. Firstly, “are you in favour of the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation?”
The second option was “are you in favour of restoring the 1992 Constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?”