95% Approve Crimea Joining Russia

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) - The head of the referendum committee in Ukraine's Crimea region says more than 95 percent of voters have approved splitting off and joining Russia.

Mikhail Malishev said the initial result came after more than 50 percent of the ballots had been counted.

Sunday's vote was denounced by the West and the acting Ukrainian government as illegitimate.

The White House says today's referendum on succession is contrary to Ukraine's constitution.

The U.S. says the world won't recognize the results of a vote held under what it says are "threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law."

A written statement from the White House calls Russia's actions in Ukraine "dangerous and destabilizing."

The U.S. is urging other nations to "take concrete steps to impose costs" against Russia.
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