Crimea’s prime minister says preliminary results from Sunday’s referendum on whether to break away from Ukraine indicate that 93 percent voted for their region to join Russia.
Less than one hour after the polls closed, the White House released a statement saying it rejects Sunday’s referendum. It said the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.
The statement added that no decision should be made about the future of Ukraine without the Ukrainian national government. It said the presidential elections planned for May 25 will provide a legitimate opportunity for all Ukrainians to make their voices heard on the future of their country.
Voter turnout in Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, was estimated at about 64 percent Sunday.
The United States, the European Union, and the European Council all released statements Sunday calling the referendum illegal and illegitimate, and warning its outcome will not be recognized internationally.