Exit polls in the Moldovan region of Transnistria show that voters in a referendum on independence have chosen to split from Moldova. More than nine out of ten said they favoured independence and free association with Russia. 390,000 people were eligible to vote in the state, which borders Ukraine.
Transnistrian president Igor Smirnov, in the run-up to the vote, said Transnistrians of all ethnic origins were pro-Russian because peace in the region had been secured by Moscow. There is little chance of the referendum gaining international acceptance – Moldova, neighbouring Ukraine and the EU have refused to recognise the vote and have sent no observers. However, it is thought the referendum could set a precedent for other pro-Russian separatist states in the former Soviet Union.