STORY: Residents who escaped to Ukrainian-held territory in recent days have told of people being forced to tick ballots in the street by roving officials at gunpoint.
Footage filmed during the exercise showed Russian-installed officials taking ballot boxes from house to house with armed men in tow.
Russia says voting was voluntary and turn-out was high.
At a reception center for evacuees in Ukraine-held Zaporizhzhia, Liudmyla Porych, an evacuee from occupied village near Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region said: “I saw members of the (voting) commission filling in the ballots themselves while sitting in their cars."
“Results was nicely drawn on paper, but in reality people didn’t vote, the turnout wasn’t that massive. (People) are very opposed to the referendum, no one wants to join Russia, no one. But with this pressure… people are scared. Scared of everything,” said Aliona Surgan, who came from the occupied town of Verhnii Rohachyk in Kherson region.