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Now Donetsk Seeks Referendum for Splitting from Ukraine
Apr 09, 2014

Pro-Russian activists occupied a government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have proclaimed the creation of a sovereign people's republic independent of the capital, Kiev. The announcement was made by a protest spokesperson outside a building occupied by several thousand Russia supporters.

Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, the protesters proclaimed the creation for the sovereign state of the People's Republic of Donetsk. The self-proclaimed leaders of People’s Council of Donetsk had vowed to hold a referendum on regional sovereignty no later than 11 May. Ukrainian presidential elections have been set for 25 May.

In a separate address to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the self-proclaimed Council asked him to deploy a temporary peacekeeping force to the region. Without your support and the support of Russia, it will be hard for us to stand against the junta in Kiev.

Pro-Russia demonstrators have set up barricades of car tires and razor wire in front of the government headquarters in Donetsk to guard it against a possible assault by security forces.

Donetsk activists said they were coordinating their referendum plans with pro-Russia forces in Kharkiv and Lugansk. These three most developed industrial regions border Russia and have much more in common with neighbouring Russian provinces than with western Ukraine.

Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk have become focal points of anti-government protests following the power takeover in Kiev by pro-Western forces and Crimea’s absorption by Russia.

Ukraine’s acting president, Olexander Turchynov, said the separatist call in Donetsk and pro-Russian protests in two other cities in the east of the country were evidence of a second stage of Russian operations playing out the Crimean scenario. The acting prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, told a cabinet meeting in Kiev: "An anti-Ukrainian plan is being put into operation, under which foreign troops will cross the border and seize the territory of the country."


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