Crimea: Over 90 % Said “Good Bye Kiev” – Crimean Delegation Heads for Moscow on Monday
Crimeans have spoken and said an unequivocal and resounding “Dosvidaniye Kiev – Strasvite Moscva”
nsnbc : Polling stations in Crimea have closed. First exit polls show that about 93 % voted “Good Bye Kiev”, only 7 % voted in favor of remaining associated to the Ukraine in a confederacy. Thousands of Crimeans are celebrating in the streets of Simferopol and other cities. Monday, a Crimean delegation will head to Moscow, said Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksynov.
27 polling stations in Crimea closed at 8:00 p.m. after 12 hours of voting. First exit polls show that 93 % voted in favor of independence from the Ukraine and for applying for becoming part of the Russian Federation. Only 7 % voted in favor of remaining part of the Ukraine in a loose confederacy.
Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov addressed the press, saying that the voter turnout had been 85 %. A high voter turnout was already reported when the polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The Russian RIA Novosti quoted the Crimean Republican Institute for Political and Social Research as stating:
“The results of the referendum exit polls in Crimea and Sevastopol: 93 percent voted for the reunion of Crimea with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. 7 percent voted for the restoration of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Crimea and Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine”.
The ITAR-Tass news agency quotes the representative of the Crimean Tatar community, Lenur Usmanov, as saying that over half of the Crimea’s Tatar population have taken part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining the Russian Federation.
Prior to the referendum, the Crimean Prime Minister assured Crima’s Tatar people that their minority right, contrary to promises made by the post-coup Kiev government, would be respected and protected. After the polling stations closed, Prime Minister Aksyonov said that about 40 % of Crimean Tatars had come to the polling stations.
Crimea’s Prime Minister, Sergey Aksyonov announced that a Crimean delegation is heading to Moscow on Monday to talk with the Russian government about the result of the referendum and about Crimea, acceeding the Russian Federation.
Aksyonov said that Crimea will introduce the ruble as second official currency along with the Ukrainian hryvna next week, adding that the dual currency policy will be in place for six months, reports Interfax. He added that the integration process of the Republic Crimea and the Russian Federation will take up to one year, adding that it could be done faster, but that Crimea wants to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine”, rather than to burn bridges.
About 135 international observers from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland have arrived, report Crimean authorities. The team of observers includes MPs from EU member states, experts in international law, human rights activists and 1,240 local observers who are monitoring the polling stations. 623 journalists from 169 international media have been accredited for the occasion.
The international observers will present their final declaration about Sunday’s referendum on Monday, 17 March, said the head of the election monitor commission, the Polish M.P. Mateusch Piskorski to journalists, adding that the voting took place in accordance with international norms and standards.
More than 15.000 people have gathered in the city of the Crimean capital Simferopol, celebrating the result of the referendum in Lenin Square, with more people arriving by the hour. The thousands of people are waving Russian flags, and are awaiting the announcement of the final result of the referendum while watching a live concert. Crimeans have said an unequivocal and resounding “Dosvidanie Kiev – Strasvite Moscva”.
Ch/L – nsnbc 16.03.2014
UPDATE 21:12 GMT: More than 50 % of the ballots have been counted with about 95 % voting in favor of Crimean independence from Ukraine and the Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation. EU and the US administration have reiterated that they consider the referendum illegal. Experts in international law disagree.