Mar. 15 - International monitors invited by Russia arrive in Crimea to observe Sunday's referendum to join Russia. Sarah Toms reports.
Preparations are underway with only one day to go before voters in the Ukrainian region of Crimea decide on whether to re-join Russia or stay with Kiev. Schools, that will be used as polling stations are spruced up and voters register ahead of the referendum. International monitors arrive in Crimea to observe the vote. They've been invited here by Russia and pro-Moscow Crimean authorities. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) EDITOR OF NEWSPAPER FROM MOLDOVA, SAYING: "The result of the referendum which we will get already on Monday will show what residents of Crimea really want. And it is going to be a signal for authorities in Kiev to understand what should be done next. Because everyone understands with no doubt that the majority of Crimeans will support joining Russia." But the U.S. and the European Union say Sunday's vote in Crimea violates international law and the Ukrainian constitution. Now the country's prime minister is seeking stronger links with Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukranian) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, ARSENY YATSENIUK, SAYING: "Ukraine is Europe. That was the slogan which led millions of Ukrainians to the streets to fight for their European future. The heavenly hundred died for our European future. Our, hopes, our struggle has been crowned a success. Right now, I had a conversation with the President of the Council of the European Union, Van Rompuy, he told me that the member states of the European Union are ready to call a summit on the 21st of March regarding the signing of the political section of the agreement of association between the EU and Ukraine. Our European future is again in our hands." Pro-Moscow forces seized this area when Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in February after months of protests. The demonstrations erupted after Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with the EU in favour of one with Russia....But as Ukraine moves closer to Europe, many people here in this mainly ethnic Russian region don't want to lose their ties to Russia.