Crimea Residents Vote on Whether to Leave Ukraine and Join Russia

The contested region of Ukraine votes on referendum that has been internationally condemned as illegal.
3:00 | 03/16/14

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Transcript for Crimea Residents Vote on Whether to Leave Ukraine and Join Russia
We're going to turn, now, to the latest on the crisis in crimea, where tensions are high, as residents vote today on breaking away from Ukraine and become part of Russia. It's been condemned as illegal. And Alex Marquardt is covering the vote from Ukraine. Alex? Reporter: Good morning, bianna. It had been a gray and wet morning in crimea. That hasn't stopped large Numbers of crimean voters to turning out for this election, whether to succeed from Ukraine and join Russia. We won't know the preliminary results until later tonight. But they're all but a foregone conclusion. We assume that crimean voters will vote to join Russia. We spoke with a young voter this morning who excitedly told me that it's like going home. He is ethnically Russia and wants to live in Russia. The minority of crimeans are against this, are boycotting, staying at home. Saying like the U.S., this is an illegitimate vote. But concern is visiting to eastern Ukraine, where there's evidence of a large-scale invasion. There's troops along the border with Ukraine. And Moscow is warning that it is considering calls to intervene. Dan? Bianna? Tensions are escalating. Let's bring in the host of "This week," George stephanopoulos. I talked to the foreign minister of Ukraine, what did he think as far as war with Russia? He says the chances are very high. He sees the seizure of the natural gas plant. That's the big fear right now. The Russians are not satisfied with the referendum in crimea. And move them towards Moscow. That could set off a civil war. That could split the country. And there's precious little right now. It appears that the rest of the world can do about it. I wanted to ask you about that. What kind of leverage does the white house have? There's talk of sanctions. What are the sanctions? And is there history of sanctions working? These are going to be the most extensive sanctions against Russia since the cold war. They'll put a freeze on assets and Visas for high-level Russians, including those inside and outside the government. When you have a country like Russia that is so large, and they have so many other ways to get the resources they need, it's unlikely that sanctions alone can do this job. But the hope is, if the west unites, around this idea, Russia can at least be deterred from moving further in eastern Ukraine. And here domestically, the president seems to have support from republicans and democrats to act in some way. The foreign minister and the acting prime minister of Ukraine, were here meeting with the president last week. They met with both parties and got supportive news from them. It's gotten bogged down in domestic policy in the senate. One of the questions going forward, if Russia moves, will the United States move to give military aid to Ukraine. That's a tougher question. It was disturbing to talk to the foreign minister. To see if he talked to his counterpart in Russia. He says he can't get through to him. George, thank you. George will have much more and all this matter later on "This

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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