March 16 - Ukrainians in Kiev denounce Crimean referendum as illegal, accuse the peninsula authorities of rigging the vote. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A time for prayer in Kiev as Crimean's decide whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. The referendum has alarmed the ex-Soviet republic and triggered the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. In Kiev, scene of a February revolution that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, residents say the referendum is illegal. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) VALERIY PANTYUSHENKO, KIEV RESIDENT, SAYING: "Firstly, I think that this referendum is illegal. Secondly, it will be fabricated under the barrels of guns. And probably they have already done some results. But I think Crimea will not be separated. I think Putin doesn't know what to do and how to leave Crimea in without being ashamed." Others express an appetite for peace not war. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) SVITLANA BLAVATNA, TERNOPIL RESIDENT, SAYING: "I want the Crimeans to be patriots as well as people in Kiev and in the West of Ukraine. I want them as every Ukrainian to think that they are the Ukrainians. The most important thing is unity and love." The referendum is expected to result in a comfortable "Yes" vote to leave Ukraine. It's a move that could prompt U.S. and European sanctions as early as Monday against those seen as responsible for the takeover of Crimea.