Official: More than 96 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia

Photo: Official: More than 96 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia
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A complete, preliminary ballot count showed that 96.77 of voters in Ukraine's Crimea region have voted to join Russia, the chairman of the regional government commission overseeing the referendum said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Mikhail Malyshev spoke in remarks shown on Russian state television following Sunday's referendum.

The vast majority of residents of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, in a referendum held March 16.

With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.

A change of power took place in Ukraine on Feb.22.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25. Yanukovych said that he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state. A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.

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