March 16 - After polls close in Crimea, more than 95 percent of referendum votes favor a union with Russia, according Russia's RIA news agency -- leaving Kiev in dismay. Gavino Garay reports.
The polls have closed. And Crimeans are celebrating the initial vote counts, overwhelmingly favoring a union with Russia. The Russian RIA news agency reported more than 95 percent of the votes went to joining Russia. Dismay in Ukraine's capital Kiev. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) KYRYLO SERGEEV, SAYING: "This Crimean referendum cannot be true, it should be a referendum for all Ukrainians. It's not a referendum; it's a theatrical performance for Russian people where Russia is legalizing the takeover of these territories." (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) VACLAV, SAYING: "My brother is living in Russia, my daughter is married, my uncle is living in Podolsk, my nephews are working in Moscow, and what is going on here? It's unbelievable. Who could imagine something like this? It's worse than Hitler." Meanwhile, in the eastern Russian-speaking city of Donetsk, locals want the same. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, ALEXEI, SAYING: "Fantastic...Of course I support it. It's the correct decision. And here we also want to hold a referendum and become a part of Russia, because people already are fed up with all these oligarch movements." Russian President Vladimir Putin says the referendum on Crimea joining Russia is legitimate.