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Crimea votes on whether to secede from Ukraine

Crimean Referendum: What Happens If Crimea Joins Russia
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) -- Residents of Ukraine's Crimea region voted on Sunday in a contentious referendum on whether to split off and seek annexation by Russia.

The vote is regarded as illegitimate both by the acting Ukrainian government and by the West, but is widely expected to pass. Crimea is predominantly ethnic Russian, and its residents say they fear the government that took over when pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month will oppress them.

Since Yanukovych fled to Russia, Crimea has come under control of local militia forces, as well as heavily armed troops under apparent command from Moscow.

On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces backed by helicopter gunships and armored vehicles had advanced about 6 miles (10 kilometers) over the Crimean border into another Ukrainian region, where they took control of a village that holds a natural gas distribution facility.

If the referendum passes, Russia faces the prospect of sanctions from Western nations, but Moscow has vigorously resisted calls to pull back in Crimea.

In Sevastopol, the Crimean capital where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based under a lease agreement with Ukraine, enthusiasm for the referendum was high with voters lining up outside polling stations before they opened.

"Today is an important day for all Crimea, Ukraine and Russia," said voter Manita Meshchina. "I think that people are expecting the majority of people will vote `yes.' What it means is that people believe and think they need to be with Russia."

In Sevastopol, more than 70 people surged into a polling station within the first 15 minutes of voting.

"Today is a holiday," said one of them, 66-year-old Vera Sverkunova. Asked how she voted, she broke into a patriotic war song: "I want to go home to Russia, it's been so long since I've seen my mama."

--

Dalton Bennett in Sevastopol and Jim Heintz in Kiev contributed to this story.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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MarPatalinjug March 16 2014 at 8:21 AM

Yonkers, New York
16 March 2014

More likely than not, by a big Majority in the Referendum today, Sunday, Crimea will vote to get annexed by Russia.

A big majority of Crimea's people happen to be ethnic Russians,and this , expectedly, is the main reason for the outcome of the Referendum.

In the event, Russia's annexation of Crimea will be a fait accompli. And there is nothing the United States and Europe can do to undo it.

Those serious economic and political Sanctions against Russia will probably be imposed as threatened by the US and Europe. As promised by V. Putin, Russia has threatened to retaliate in kind.

But the reality is that i n a back-and-forth involving sanctions,Russia will end up the loser. In the event, its annexation of Crimea might yet prove to be a Pyrrhic victory.

Mariano Patalinjug
MarPatalinjug@aol.com

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musing259 March 16 2014 at 11:46 AM

There is no question that any country has the right of self-determination. The Continental Congress of the USA voted to separate from the United Kingdom.

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maorenia March 16 2014 at 12:36 PM

Sevastopol is not Crimean capital! Simpheropol is! Check Wikipedia before writing an article! Sevastopol is a municipality excluded from Crimea as its territory is leased to Russian naval base! Most of people living there do not even have Ukrainian passports but encouraged to vote!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Danny March 16 2014 at 1:30 PM

Sounds like a democratic vote to me. If that's the outcome, let it be. Look in this country and who we vote into office. To many times, it's a person that we don't like or agree with but they won the election. The opposing factions don't like it but we accept it. In a democratic election...sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
kvave Danny March 16 2014 at 1:35 PM

One which we may not want to directly interfere with as of yet. However we need to permit Ukraine entry into NATO , THEY do not want to be Russian Property. Redeploy Missle Defense , and Re Institute MAD. Let Putin know , ANY further Westward expansion efforts will not be permitted

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ajzz06 March 16 2014 at 1:29 PM

Who really cares about ANYTHING that happens over there. It will have zero affect or effect in one single aspect of my daily life! Worry more about what happens in our country and less about the insignificants!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
kvave ajzz06 March 16 2014 at 1:33 PM

Because when it breaches the Security and Stability of Europe , it directly affects the West . Or dont you understand how the game works. YES it is a Game , of Global Chess

Flag Reply +2 rate up
shadowdew55 ajzz06 March 16 2014 at 1:45 PM

READ YOUR HISTORY...THATS WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID ABOUT HITLER...

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1 reply
kvave shadowdew55 March 16 2014 at 1:53 PM

As well as Stalin , MAO and many other expansionist Regimes Absolutely Correct

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ken March 16 2014 at 12:38 PM

Reagan is spinning in his grave right about now................

Flag Reply +10 rate up
meiguosn March 16 2014 at 12:39 PM

If Obama plans sanctions and any other action against a nation whose people are voting, then is the next step to plan sanctions and other action against the American voting system and Americans if the American people don't vote the way Obama wants them to vote?

Flag Reply +9 rate up
3 replies
nascarn4cer March 16 2014 at 12:44 PM

It's a good thing we have obama during this crisis (haha).

Flag Reply +7 rate up
ocogbogu March 16 2014 at 9:27 AM

Remember the Alamo!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
pmurrayr ocogbogu March 16 2014 at 9:48 AM

wasn't that a defeat and everyone died there?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
georgiablew March 16 2014 at 12:45 PM

First I want to give you a search term, "Neo-Nazis In Ukraine" now just go see what you can find out. ;) Yes, they are part of this "new government" yes this is who our administration is supporting. Sadly the media has not talked much about it here in the US, but that is how they roll. You didn't see this story in the headlines here.

"""Ukraine Neo-Nazi Party Threatens Russia with Nukes: “We’ll Regain our Nuclear Status in 6 Months”

The ultra-right “Svoboda” (Liberty) party has remained unconvinced, with one of its representatives in the Ukrainian parliament warning that if Russia doesn’t tread carefully it will be dealing with a nuclear power.

“We’ll regain our status as a nuclear power and that’ll change the conversation. Ukraine has all the technological means needed to create a nuclear arsenal – which would take us about three to six months,” Svoboda party MP Mikhail Golovko said.""""

Welcome back Adolf.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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