Trudging through the falling snow, Crimeans made their way to the polling stations across the peninsula, to vote in a referendum many believe is a foregone conclusion.
Inside the stations, opened in schools and community centres, food was served as residents voted in booths with curtains in the colours of the Russian flag.
Polls opened in Crimea on Sunday for residents to vote on breaking away from Ukraine to join Russia, a poll that has precipitated a security crisis on Europe's bulwark between the West and Europe.
Ukraine's new government, as well as almost all the key world powers except Russia, have said they will not recognise a result expected to be overwhelmingly in favour of immediate secession.
A significant minority, including ethnic Tatars, have said they will not take part in the poll, which includes no option for Crimea of continuing the status quo as part of Ukraine.
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