Calgarians with ties to Ukraine say they are struggling to understand the results of Sunday’s hastily organized referendum and are worried for their loved ones who remain in the eastern European nation.

While international news organizations have reported an overwhelming majority of the referendum votes cast supported a return to Russian rule, people living in and near Crimea say they experienced a voting process where the result appeared predetermined.

Rumblings among citizens of Crimea tell tales of voting stations without lists of eligible voters as well as independent observers to monitor the referendum vote. The stories of alleged voting corruption are beginning to spread throughout the world as locals contact their family members and friends abroad, including here in Calgary.

Members of Calgary’s Ukrainian community believe their homeland will continue to be targeted by Russian leader, President Vladimir Putin, who views the annexing of Ukraine as inevitable.

“I believe that it's only the beginning of the situation,” explains Eugene Yankovsky. “Putin has been quoted several times saying that Ukraine is a nuisance, it's a state that doesn't have the right to be a state.”

World leaders have imposed sanctions on Russia, but Ukrainians in Calgary do not believe they will deter Putin from invading Ukraine. The local Ukrainian community hopes NATO will intervene and keep Ukraine intact.

With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming