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Crimeans vote for secession from Ukraine

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (CBS) -- Crowds celebrated in Crimea Sunday after a vast majority of citizens voted to join the Russian Federation, just three weeks after Russia took control by force.

The Ukrainian government in the west says the vote is illegal, however. The White House is threatening Cold War era sanctions if Moscow doesn't back down.

"Russia's actions are dangerous and destabilizing. The UN Security Council recognized this in a vote yesterday that only Russia opposed. As the United States and our allies have made clear, military intervention and violation of international law will bring increasing costs for Russia," says White House press secretary Jay Carney.

But appearing on the face of the nation, representative Mike Rogers says Vladimir Putin appears to be winning at a dangerous game of diplomatic chess.

"Clearly he has set the table to his advantage in any negotiation going forward. Clearly, that's happened," he said.

Thousands of Ukrainians stayed home from the polls, calling today's referendum a farce, but a nast majority of the Russian speaking peninsula cast their ballots in favor of joining Russia.

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke to President Obama over the phone earlier Sunday. Putin continues to assert that today's referendum complies with international law.

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