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In pictures: Crimean cities erupt with referendum celebrations

As preliminary results of the contentious referendum in Crimea are announced, crowds gather in Simferopol and Sevastopol to voice pro-Russian sentiment

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A woman reacts during the announcement of preliminary results of today's referendum in the Crimean city of Sevastopol March 16, 2014. Russian state media said Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine and join Russia on Sunday, as Kiev accused Moscow of pouring forces into the peninsula and warned separatist leaders "the ground will burn under their feet."

BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

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People celebrate as the preliminary results of today's referendum are announced in Sevastopol, March 16, 2014.

BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

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Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, middle, celebrates as the preliminary results of today's referendum are announced in Lenin Square in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, March 16, 2014.

DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS

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Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov is shown as preliminary results of today's referendum are announced in Lenin Square in the Crimean capital of Simferopol March 16, 2014.

DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS

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A man in military uniform salutes as he joins others to celebrate the announcement of preliminary results of today's referendum in the Crimean city of Sevastopol March 16, 2014.

BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

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People celebrate the announcement of preliminary results of today's referendum in the Crimean city of Sevastopol March 16, 2014.

BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

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Pro-Russian people celebrate in Lenin Square, in Simferopol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Polls have closed in Crimea's contentious referendum on seceding from Ukraine and seeking annexation by Russia. The vote, unrecognized both by the Ukrainian government and the West, was held Sunday as Russian flags fluttered in the breeze and retirees grew weepy at the thought of reuniting with Russia.

Vadim Ghirda/AP

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Pro-Russian people celebrate in Lenin Square, in Simferopol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Vadim Ghirda/AP

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