The turnout for the referendum in Crimea at 5.p.m. local time was 70%. The vote will be closed at 8.p.m. Fabrizio Berto, a member of the European Parliament, who came to Crimea to monitor the referendum, said: I have seen no violations there. People have been voting as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. Everything is like at elections in Italy. The way it should be everywhere.
How many hours is Crimea ahead of the US.?
That is beside the point. The region is under occupation; the referendum does not offer an option to stay in Ukraine. Under these conditions there is no need to coerce anyone at the polls.
The referendum is a sham. It did not allow Ukrainians to vote in Ukraine; it was called up in one week; the region is under military occupation; there is an edict by the powers currently in the Crimean Rada for secession regardless of the referendum; the pro-Ukrainian campaigning was forbidden.
That the majority of Crimea would like to join Russia or to secede is likely; that Crimea historically and culturally is more Russian than it is Ukrainian is true, but this referendum is not a way to find out. It is all the more puzzling why Putin needed to set up this farce while at the same time amassing an invasion force along the mainland border.