Hardly had the polls closed in Crimea when people began celebrating results of the Sunday referendum which was to decide whether Crimea breaks away from Ukraine and joins Russia or stays with the country. The streets in the capital Simferopol were filled with music and national flags, with people singing, dancing and celebrating the ‘victory’ the night away.
The results of the exit poll showed that 95% of the voters backed re-joining Russia. Voters were asked whether they wanted to join Russia, or have greater autonomy within Ukraine.
Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s leader installed last month after the Russian takeover, appeared on stage in Crimea’s regional capital Simferopol.
Backed by the Russian national anthem, Russian flags, and the personnel of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, he told supporters that Crimea was “going home”.
No other country except Russia has recognized the results of the Crimean referendum.
Some 58% of people in Crimea are ethnic Russian, with the rest made up of Ukrainians and Tatars.