January 23, 2018
Monday, May 12, 2014

Pro-Russians declare victory on self-rule referendum

Members of an election commission empty a ballot box to start counting ballots at a polling station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk
Separatists in the industrial Donetsk region claimed 90 percent support in the referendum, and appealed to Moscow to consider its absorbtion into the Russian Federation to "restore historic justice".

Russia said it respected the outcome of the referendum but it did not say what further action it might take, while Ukrainian leader Oleksander Turchinov accused Moscow of working to overthrow legitimate state power in Ukraine.

"Based on the will of the people and on the restoration of a historic justice, we ask the Russian Federation to consider the absorbtion of the Donetsk People's Republic into the Russian Federation," said a statement by Denis Pushilin, a leading member of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic.

"The people of Donetsk have always been part of the Russian world. For us, the history of Russia is our history.", it said.

Turchinov dismissed the separatist vote as a farce.

"These processes are inspired by the leadership of the Russian Federation and are destructive to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions' economies, threaten the lives and welfare of citizens and have the aim of destabilising the situation in Ukraine, disrupting (May 25) presidential elections and overthrowing Ukrainian authorities," he said in a statement.

The presidential vote is intended to secure democratic continuity and legitimacy following Yanukovich's flight to Moscow in February.

The referendum opened a new phase of uncertainty in a country historically divided between a Russian-speaking east and a more westward looking west.

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Tags:  Ukraine  Pro-Russians  referendum  separatists  Kiev  Russia  

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