'This Week': Crisis in Ukraine

ABC News' Alexander Marquardt and Bianna Golodryga report the latest on the Crimea referendum in Ukraine.
3:00 | 03/16/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Crisis in Ukraine
20 days left. Want to turn to the Ukraine. The standoff in the Ukraine. A fever pitch this morning. The people of crimea, voting on how much to pull away from the Ukraine and toward Russia. And Russian troops are strengthening their presence across the region. Alex Marquardt is right in the middle of it all. He joins us now. Good morning, Alex. Reporter: Good morning, George. Voters have been coming to polling stations like this one all day. There's little suspense in this vote. Crimeans, expected to vote overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia. Amid new fears president Putin is looking to expand his grip in Ukraine. This morning, we drove with 27-year-old Damien, as he went to cast his vote to join Russia. For Damien, the vote means going back home. I'm Russian. And I want to live in Russia. To me, it's an important event. It's one of the most important days in all my life. Reporter: The process was simple and quick. The voters, quiet, but determined. How does it feel? Yeah. We are going to Russia. Reporter: The United States and Europe have slammed the referendum as illegitimate. But Russian and crimean leaders, like the prime minister, argue it is simply about crimeans choosing for themselves where they belong. Translator: I think that president Obama is a smart man who understands that it is impossible to ignore the will of the majority of crimeans, he told us. I hope Americans will understand, that today, crimeans also have a right to a free choice. Already, the international focus is shifting. From crimea to Ukraine. About 9,000 Russian troops have amassed on Ukraine's northern border. And now, Russia is considering calls to intervene. In the first sign that Russia may be moving beyond crimea, scores of Russian troops have seized a natural gas terminal outside crimea in Ukraine. We've learned that Ukrainian troops have surrounded the area, setting up a tense and potentially explosive standoff. Very tense. Over here, now, with bianna golodryga. Bianna, we're getting confusing reports from the region. Military moving in crimea. You were able to talk to Ukraine's foreign minister today. That's Wright, I spoke with the prime minister of crimea. He's hopeful but not optimistic this will end peacefully. And I began whether or not that gas plant was seized. We do see it as a provocation. Among the many provocations that the Russians are trying to organize in the territory of Ukraine. We will not go for provocation since we want to go for a peaceful solution of this crisis. And your ministry actually issued a statement saying that Ukraine reserved the right to use all necessary means to stop a military invasion by Russia. Do you have the military to back up that statement? Look, if you compare the military arsenals of Ukraine and Russia, of course, the Russians' positions are much better. Overwhelming positions and strength. But however, what we have on Ukrainian side, something that's very important in confrontations. And this is all the nation is proud of, the spirit of Ukrainian people. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the height of war, where would you say the situation is right now? Quite high. Quite high. And equally disturbing, I asked if he had a chance to speak to his Russian counterpart. He said no. John Kerry is trying to orchestrate a meeting. The Russians have not recognized this legitimate government now in Ukraine. But of course, they have been recognized in the U.S. The prime minister and the foreign minister were in Washington last week, where they got bipartisan support. And meantime, we have learned that the acting defense minister, one report, that a possible truce, now, between Russia and Ukraine. At least until March 21st. But as you said, the foreign minister knew nothing. The last I spoke with him, about to get on the Brussels to be with his E.U. Counterpart. So, I have reached out to him. We'll update if we hear anything. Let's bring in senator Chris Murphy, member of the senate

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