LONDON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The referendum in Crimea should not convince anyone and Britain will not recognize the outcome of the referendum, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday.
"Nothing in the way that the referendum has been conducted should convince anyone that it is a legitimate exercise," Hague said in a statement after arriving in Brussels for the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on Monday.
His remarks came after an overwhelming majority of voters in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea were in favor of reunification with Russia in a referendum held on Sunday on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine as an autonomous republic.
Hague urged that the EU foreign ministers on Monday adopt measures to send a strong signal to Russia that the vote "will bring economic and political consequences."
Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous republic, held a referendum Sunday on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine as an autonomous republic.
Local television quoted late Sunday an exit poll by the Crimean Republic Institute for Political and Social Studies as saying that 93 percent of voters in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea were in favor of reunification with Russia.
The remaining 7 percent were polled as in favor of staying with Ukraine but with greater autonomy by restoring the 1992 Crimean constitution.