Crimea votes to split from Ukraine counted

Crimea's regional parliament has declared the region an independent state, after its residents voted overwhelmingly to break off from Ukraine and seek to join Russia, news agencies reported.

The head of the referendum commission in Ukraine's Crimea says the final results of Sunday's vote show that 97 percent of voters support joining Russia.

Sunday's referendum is not recognized by the West, and the United States and the European Union are preparing sanctions against Russia, whose troops have been occupying Crimea for several weeks.

A delegation of Crimean lawmakers is set to travel to Moscow Monday for negotiations on how to proceed further. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is just a matter of time.

U.S. and EU sanctions are expected to be announced today. 

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