Crimea votes today on whether to join Russia or stay a part of The Ukraine. Below is a brief background on the Crimea referendum followed by live updates via AFP.

Maria Repko of Foyil Securities on the Crimea referendum Foyil Securities

The referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea on joining the Russian Federation on as a subject of federa on is to be held on March 16. At the same me, the situa on in the Eastern Ukraine also remains tense, with street fights in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, reportedly between pro?Russian activists, some of whom came from across the border, and Ukrainian activists, advocating an integrated and indivisible Ukraine.

Our view: The situation is tense, and there is a possibility that it changes drama cally and unpredictably during the weekend. If nothing changes, Russia is going to vote for Crimea annexa on and accepting it as a federative subject of the Russian Federation on March 21. 

Crimea referendum
Crimea referendum

In somewhat related news on the Crimea Referendum

Dmytro Firtash arrested in Vienna

 

Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash has been arrested in Vienna, Austria in the course of legal assistance for the FBI, as reported by foreign media. The next anticipated step is likely to be his extradi on to the U.S. Our view: Dmytro Firtash through his

Group DF owns numerous assets in Ukraine’s oil & gas, chemical, banking, media and other industries, including RosUkrEnergo, the famous intermediary between Russian Gazprom and Ukrainian consumers, Concern S rol, Crimean Titan, Bank Nadra, gas distribu on companies and many others. His major rival in the oil & gas sector was Serhiy Kurchenko, a young oligarch with close es to ex?President Yanukovych’s family. Currently, we can expect re?distribu on of the gas market, with state?run company Na ohaz as a likely winner. DF Group’s chemical companies may su?er losses if they are cut o? cheaper?than?market natural gas supply sources.

 

Crimea referendum: live report (via AFP)

15:39 GMT – Ukrainian passport – In Bakhchysaray, the main centre of Crimea’s native Muslim Tatar community, Russian-speakers are the only people turning up at the polls, as Tatars have decided to boycott the referendum, AFP’s Michel Moutot reports.…