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Under the Gun, Crimea Goes to the Polls to Decide Its Future

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KIEV, Ukraine — In what seemed to be an ominous beginning to the day, dark clouds and heavy rains swept over Crimea as residents of the Black Sea peninsula went to the polls to decide their future in a move backed by the Kremlin but denounced by the acting Ukrainian government and the West.

As those in Crimea vote, they will be doing so literally under the gun, with thousands of heavily armed Russian soldiers and several Kalashnikov-wielding pro-Russian militia units who have besieged the peninsula breathing down their necks.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m., Kiev time. Preliminary results will be released late in the day, with final results expected in two or three day’s time. But the result is widely believed to be a foregone conclusion: seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. Read more…

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