Canada rejects Crimea's 'so-called referendum'

OTTAWA, Canada - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined allies around the world in rejecting Crimea's breakaway referendum Sunday, and warned of fresh sanctions on Russia.

With more than half the ballots counted, preliminary results showed 95.5 per cent of voters were in favour of leaving Ukraine and rejoining former political master Russia.

"The so-called referendum held today was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation," Harper said in a statement.

"Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control." The Canadian leader, who is due to visit Ukraine on Saturday, said Canada and its partners in the G7 (the world's Group of Eight most industrialized nations minus Russia) were working with other allies to "coordinate additional sanctions against those responsible."

"This 'referendum' is illegitimate, it has no legal effect and we do not recognise its outcome," he added.