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Crimea 1.5 million voters are being called upon to take part in a vote to determine their future.

A referendum, instigated by Crimea’s pro-Moscow regional government, will be held on Sunday, March 16.

The vote is opposed by Ukraine and the US, while Russia says it will respect the results.

Referendum questions

“Are you in favour of unifying Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation?”

“Are you in favour of restoring the 1992 constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?”

The second question is somewhat contradictory because the 1992 constitution, adopted after the collapse of the USSR and quickly abandoned, provided for Crimea as an independent state.

Time for change?

Crimea today is an autonomous republic of Ukraine. It has its own regional parliament and government, but major decisions must be approved by the national government in Kyiv.

Ethnic Russians make up the majority of Crimea’s population.

The regional government has little doubt about the outcome of the referendum, describing it as a “confirmation” of plans to break away from Ukraine.

While pro-Moscow posters line the streets of Crimea’s regional capital Simferopol, there has been no large-scale “no” campaign in the lead-up to the vote.

The peninsula is not uniformly in favour of joining Russia. Crimea’s Tatar community are among those strongly opposed to being ruled by the Kremlin.

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