Crimea votes to join Russian Federation: 96.77% say YES

Russia, Ukraine The Republic of Crimea has appealed to the UN and the world community to recognize it, according to a document drafted by the region’s Supreme Council.

"The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states," the legislation says.

Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament's website stated. The Supreme Council of Crimea unanimously voted to integrate of the region into Russia.

It's after the announcement of the official results of the referendum: 96.77 percent of the Crimean population has voted ‘for’ integration of the region into the Russian Federation. The turnout was 83.1 per cent.

The referendum saw a massive turnout, with 81.3 percent of the eligible voting population participating, the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev, said.

There were 1,233,002 votes ‘for’ integration, with the total number of those who voted standing at 1,274,096 people.

The referendum commission has not received any complaints, Malyshev stressed.

On Sunday evening, in Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 people have gathered to celebrate the referendum’s results in the central Lenin square, waving Russian and Crimean flags.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Crimea's Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov told Interfax. The dual currency is to be established in about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the premier said. However, it wants to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

With 100% ballots counted, 96.77% of Crimean votes to re-unite with Russia - Crimean election chief

The latest updates from Crimea’s election authority show that 96.77% of the voters who cast their ballots in Sunday’s referendum supported Crimea’s reunification with Russia. "The number of the votes cast in the Crimea-wide referendum in favor of reunification with Russia as an entity of the Russian Federation is 1.233,002 million, or 96.77 percent," Crimea’s chief election commissioner Mikhail Malyshev, told reporters, summing up the outcome of Sunday’s vote.

Crimea to switch to Moscow Time as of March 30

On March 30 Crimea will switch to the Moscow Standard Time under a resolution passed by the Crimean parliament at an extraordinary session on Monday a day after the residents of Crimea overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.

"To establish across the Republic of Crimea the time standard in accordance with the third time zone with the time change at 2 pm on March 30, 2014, by moving the clock two hours forward," the resolution says.

Turnout unprecedented as Crimea residents choose their future

Turnout for the secession referendum in Crimea is unprecedented, observers say, with no indications of violations, they noted, adding that Crimean residents are not being forced to vote the "right way." And what can be seen in Crimea now are the happy faces of voters hurrying to polling stations. This is according to members of Russia's observer mission who spoke with the Voice of Russia.

Crimean residents are choosing their future; to join Russia or to broaden Crimea's powers as part of Ukraine. Despite poor weather in Crimea, many elderly people have travelled to at local polling stations to vote. Russian senators who have already visited several polling stations in Simferopol and Yalta, registered no violations and praised organizers for a high level of preparations. The referendum meets international standards, including those stipulated in the UN Charter, the first deputy chairman of the Committee on International Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov said.

"We are in Yalta now and have already visited six polling stations. There are many people everywhere. Despite the bad weather in Crimea, gusting wind and rain, the numbers of people determined to cast their vote is increasing by the minute. The situation is quiet everywhere. As it seems to me, voting is being carried out in line with international standards. After receiving ballot papers, people are going to the booths and then casting them in transparent ballot boxes. All voters bring a passport, or a copy if necessary. One can even see 80-year-old grannies with walking sticks at the polling stations because they are determined to take part in the referendum."

For Crimean citizens, March 16 is a festive occasion, a member of Russia's Committee on International Affairs, Igor Morozov, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

"We continue to visit the polling stations in Sevastopol. Although it is raining hard, there are many people everywhere. People who arrived at the polling stations with their family members are queuing to vote. We saw elderly people among them as well, many of them. As early as Tuesday, voters began to visit local polling stations, trying to find out whether they were listed to vote."

"According to information available, the Ukrainian regime has blocked all information on registered voters and electoral lists. This was from the executive secretary of the election commission. Therefore, polling station personnel compiled the lists based on the last elections in 2012, he said.

"Today all voters are making a historic decision and they understand that perfectly well too. All polling stations we have visited comply with international standards. All documents are in order, and the working personnel are highly qualified.

It is hard even to imagine that Crimean residents are voting under pressure and even if Western countries refuse to recognize the referendum outcome, we are well aware of the fact that Russia will perform its historic mission in any case. There have been precedents created in both international law and practice. We know perfectly well about the existence of UN regulations that brought Kosovo into being some time ago. Therefore, we are absolutely sure that both Crimea and Russia are acting within the international law framework," Igor Morozov said.

Source:, RT, The Voice of Russia