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March 15, 2014 1:00 pm

Tense Calm in Crimea Ahead of Sunday Referendum, Local Jews Say

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IFCJ's Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein with Jewish students in Ukraine. Photo: IFCJ/Eva Geller.

Times of Israel – Nearly two million Crimeans will be called to the polls on Sunday, March 16, for a referendum on the future of the peninsula. However, those who want to see Crimea remain in Ukraine will not have much choice: Voters will be asked to choose between joining Russia outright, versus endorsing a broad autonomous status for Crimea that will enable it to break away from Ukraine in the future.

The referendum — announced on February 27 by the Crimean parliament from a building controlled by the Russian armed forces — was hastily prepared and is widely expected to be rigged. There will be no independent observers at the voting centers.

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