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Crimea votes for first time in Russian presidential election

March 18, 8:59 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The voting station at the Simferopol airport’s terminal may set a world record with the largest territory of 78,000 square meters

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© Sergey Malgavko/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, March 18. /TASS/. Citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol will vote for the first time in the Russian presidential election on the fourth anniversary of the Black Sea Peninsula’s reunification with Russia.

Ballot stations on the peninsula opened at 8.00 a.m. Moscow Time (05.00 a.m. GMT). Some 1.5 mln and 311,000 citizens are eligible to vote in Crimea and Sevastopol, respectively.

A total of 1,206 ballot stations will open in the Republic of Crimea and another 182 in Sevastopol. Workers who are building the 19-km Kerch Strait Bridge, the longest in the country and one of the largest in Europe, will be able to cast their votes.

The voting station at the Simferopol airport’s terminal may set a world record with the largest territory of 78,000 square meters. The terminal’s construction was launched in 2016 and it is expected to be put into operation this spring.

More than 40 international observers from 20 countries, including from Israel, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Norway, Denmark and Ukraine, will cover the presidential election in Crimea. Late on Saturday, a delegation from France arrived at the Simferopol airport. According to the delegation’s representative Jacques Myard, an honorary member of the French parliament, the observers plan to visit all ballot stations in Crimea. The goal of the trip is to bring stability in the relations between Russia and Europe.

On Sunday, Crimea and Sevastopol mark the fourth anniversary of reunification with Russia. The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities in Kiev who seized power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The Russian president signed the reunification deals on March 18, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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