ERR in Crimea: Pro-Ukrainian Voters Boycotted Referendum
ETV's Astrid Kannel said the vast majority of those who turned up were pro-accession, as those opposing the peninsula’s transfer to Russia stayed away from Sunday's referendum.
Speaking after Sunday's vote, where a reported 95 percent voted for a split of Crimea from Ukraine, Kannel said voting was more active in polling stations in Russian-speaking areas.
She said a maximum of 20 percent of Crimean Tatars, who make up an eighth of the population in the region, took to the polls, although official numbers put that figure over 40 percent. Crimean Tatars have said they do not support Russia's involvement and would prefer to see a pro-EU Ukraine.
Ayder Adzhinmambetov, a member of a Crimean Tatar council, said if the vote would have been free and fair, it is safe to say less than 50 percent of the population would have supported joining Russia.
Ukrainian military personnel on the peninsula did not vote, according to Kannel, who said that soldiers' stance was that the referendum was illegal and they did not want to participate.
“The voter turnout is over 70 percent, which seems mathematically illogical. This characterizes Russian elections, where numbers are made up,” Kannel said.
She said that many people have taken to the streets to celebrate the result, with bands playing music and people shouting.