SEVASTOPOL, March 18. /TASS/. Voter turnout in the city of Sevastopol and Crimea, where the Russian presidential election is being held for the first time on Sunday, has exceeded 30% as of 12:00 Moscow Time, heads of the local election commissions told reporters.
"As of 12:00 Moscow time, the turnout in Sevastopol was 35.1%," Chairman of the Sevastopol City Election Commission Alexander Petukhov said.
The voter turnout in Crimea has reached 33.81% as of 12:00 Moscow Time, with more than 506,000 people coming to the polling stations, Chairman of the regional Election Commission Mikhail Malyshev told reporters.
According to Olga Yarmak, Head of the Center for Sociological Research at Sevastopol State University, the turnout in Sevastopol will be close to the one at the historic referendum on Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia held on March 16, 2014. She also noted young people’s role in today’s voting.
"An important specific feature is the participation of young people who went to the polling stations for the first time and those who took part in other elections (to Russia’s State Duma in 2016 and the Governor of Sevastopol in 2017 - TASS). We conducted a survey at the university, and 70% of young people consider the presidential election a significant event. The degree of understanding the importance of the presidential election is considerably high," she said.
The Russian presidential election is being held in Crimea for the first time. A total of 1,206 polling stations are open in Crimea and 182 in Sevastopol. About 1.8 million voters have been registered in the region.
Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities that seized power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
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 voters in Sevastopol chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification agreements on March 18, 2014. Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine refused to recognize Crimea’s incorporation into Russia.