As it happened: Crimea votes in referendum

Key Points

  • Election officials say 95.5% of voters have backed joining Russia in the referendum, after half of the ballots were counted
  • Crimea's leader says he will apply to join Russia on Monday and tells cheering crowds in Simferopol the region is "going home"
  • Many Crimeans loyal to Kiev boycotted the referendum but election officials hailed the "record" turnout
  • The EU and US say the referendum was illegal and threaten sanctions on Russia
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will respect the wishes of the Crimean people
  • All times GMT