Almost Everybody In Crimea Allegedly Wants to Be Part of Russia

So says Russia, anyway


What's happening in Ukraine today, March 16:

Voting has concluded in Crimea and according to the information being put out by officials, 95 percent of the voters have declared that they want to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. From ABC:

Voters in Crimea overwhelmingly supported leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, officials said today, as more than 95 percent of referendum ballots counted so far supported such a move.

Half the ballots had been counted as of 4:30 p.m. ET, local election officials reported. Only 3.5 percent of ballots opposed joining Russia. Official results will be released Monday.

The vote came as Ukraine and Russia reached a truce in Crimea, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and a base commander in Crimea.

The truce would last until March 21, the day Russia's parliament is set to decide on Crimea's annexation.

"Now it's clear that we'll become a part of Russia so they have to find some sort of peaceful solution," Yevpatoriya base commander Col. Andrey Matvienko told ABC News.

The United States and the European Union have rejected the referendum, the White House saying today the poll was administered under "threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention."

Notably, one of the women ABC talked to, who voted to rejoin Russia, said voting for Ukraine was voting "for war."

CNN noted some "irregularities" in the vote process:

Some 80% of voters turning out at a polling station in Bakhchysaray were not on the electoral roll, the registrar told CNN. Those not on the roll have their passports and papers checked to establish identity. On the spot, election staff decide, with a show of hands, whether to allow those voters to participate.

A CNN team photographed one voter dropping two pieces of paper into the ballot box, raising questions over how effectively the vote is being monitored.

Turnout was high, but many Crimean Tatars, an ethnic Turkic group with deep roots on the peninsula, were boycotting the vote, as were many ethnic Ukrainians.

AFP is liveblogging the election and the various responses here.

Reason's Ed Krayewski highlighted much of the latest analysis of Ukraine's happenings on Friday in the final buildup before the election here.