About 93 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining the Russian federation and only 7 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to first exit polls.
Polling stations closed in Crimea after the referendum where residents were to decide on the future status of the region.
“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 Crimean republican institute for political and social research said in a statement as cited by RIA Novosti.
In Sevastopol, about 85% of voters cast their ballots by 1600 GMT, two hours before the polling stations closed, according to the chair of the city’s election commission Valery Medvedev.
The U.S. is rejecting the vote in Crimea even before the results are released.
The White House says Sunday's referendum on secession is contrary to Ukraine's constitution.
The U.S. says the world won't recognize the results of a vote held under what it says are "threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law."
A written statement from the White House calls Russia's actions in Ukraine "dangerous and destabilizing."
The U.S. is urging other nations to "take concrete steps to impose costs" against Russia.