MOSCOW – The head of Russia's observer mission in Crimea insists that the results of the referendum on whether Crimea should leave Ukraine and join Russia are impossible to contest.
Valery Ryazantsev, a lawmaker from the Russian upper house of parliament, said Monday morning in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that the vote leaves no reason to consider it illegitimate.
Early results in the vote held two weeks after Russian troops seized the peninsula showed that Crimeans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to leave Ukraine.
The referendum was widely condemned by Western leaders, who plan to punish Russia with economic sanctions.
After 50 percent of the ballots were counted, more than 95 percent of voters had approved splitting off and joining Russia. The final count was expected later Monday.