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Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Crimeans voted Sunday in a referendum to join Russia as tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. Russia President Vladimir Putin vowed to "respect" the outcome of the vote in a region that is now under the de facto control of Russian forces despite an international outcry. "This is a historic moment," Sergiy Aksyonov, the local pro-Moscow prime minister, told reporters after casting his ballot in the regional capital Simferopol. Cossacks and pro-Moscow militias were patrolling outside polling stations and Russian troops guarded the unofficial border between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine but the atmosphere was largely celebratory.
Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - 16:00 GMT - Journalists declined entry - In Crimea, Cossacks and pro-Moscow militias have been seen patrolling at some polling stations and Russian flags were being flown everywhere from city buses to convoys of bikers roaming the streets, our correspondent Dario Thuburn reports.