Friday, March 14, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Referendum Ballots Already Marked to Join Russia

It's two days before Crimea's disputed referendum to quit Ukraine and join Russia.

And some referendum ballots have already been filled out with a check-mark in support of joining Russia, reports Ukrainian-language today.

It appears ballots were already filled in when sent out from the printer, the news site says.

UPDATE: A senior U.S. official said there was "concrete evidence" that some ballots in the referendum arrived pre-marked, this Reuters story later reported.

Plans to Falsify Vote

The photo originally appeared in an item on the widely read Russian-language news site.

That story cited a source in the Crimean government who reported that authorities now in control of the region plan to falsify the referendum with fake ballots and voting by Russians.

The target is to achieve a 73-percent vote in favour of joining Russia, the source is quoted saying.

Busloads of Russians

On that score, also reported busloads of Russian citizens have been arriving in Crimea, ostensibly to participate in Sunday's vote.

The referendum has been widely denounced by Ukraine and other nations as illegal.

It was announced after Russian-speaking soldiers without insignia took control over the Ukrainian region.

The troops oversaw the ousting of existing Crimean authorities and installment as prime minister of a little-known pro-Russia politician with alleged organized crime ties.

No international monitoring of the vote is planned.

Observers from the UN and Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe have been denied entry to Crimea or kicked out of the region by pro-Russia gunmen.

No comments: