Pro-Russian Separatists: Crimea Just the Beginning
The final results of the referendum in Crimea are in: More than 96 percent of residents voted Sunday to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
The vote comes as Russia continued to take control of more Ukrainian territory.
With the Crimean Peninsula now under their full control, Russian forces backed by multiple helicopter gunships captured another Ukrainian town this weekend that holds a natural gas facility.
"They say they are protecting us from terrorist acts, but they don't explain which terrorist acts exactly," one Ukrainian woman said.
Russia has deployed 60,000 troops along Ukraine's border as the government in Kiev worries about a full-scale invasion.
"We are deeply concerned about reports of Russian military units moving closer and in a more tactical way around eastern Ukraine," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.
Pro-Russian separatists said Crimea is just the beginning in their quest to create a Greater Russia.
Hours after residents voted to overwhelmingly break away from Ukraine and join Russia, Crimea's deputy prime minister said he'll give Russian troops safe passage to the eastern part of the country where he predicts Russia will go next.
To understand the political crisis in the Crimean, you have to look at the make up of this part of southern Ukraine. The majority of the people who live on the peninsula identify themselves as ethnic Russian.
"We came back home to mother Russia. We came back home, Russia is our home," Sevastopol resident Nikolay Drozdenko told CBN News.
While the majority of ethnic Russians voted for secession, ethnic Ukrainians and Muslim Tatars boycotted the vote.
The West, including the United States, dismissed the poll as a "sham" and promised more sanctions against Russia.
On Monday morning, Russian flags flew on every corner of the Crimean capital as the parliament declared the region an independent state. Russia is expected to formally announce annexation later this week.