03/16/2014 10:37 EDT | Updated 03/16/2014 11:59 EDT

Stephen Harper Calls Crimea Referendum 'Illegitimate'

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued a statement on Sunday's referendum in Crimea, calling the vote "illegitimate".

The prime minister joins U.S. President Barack Obama in denouncing this outcome.

Crimean officials report nearly 95 per cent of exit polls support secession from Ukraine and joining Russia. Harper is expected to arrive in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 22, just six days after the referendum.

Here is the full text of Harper's statement:

“The so-called referendum held today was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control.

“This “referendum” is illegitimate, it has no legal effect, and we do not recognize its outcome. As a result of Russia's refusal to seek a path of de-escalation, we are working with our G-7 partners and other allies to coordinate additional sanctions against those responsible.

“Any solution to this crisis must respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as the constitution of Ukraine. Mr. Putin's reckless and unilateral actions will lead only to Russia's further economic and political isolation from the international community.”

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