Pro-Russian separatists held an “independence” referendum today in Eastern Ukraine.
The turnout was reportedly high.
Voice of America reported:
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine held referendums Sunday on “independence,” but the Ukrainian government in Kyiv called the voting a “criminal farce.”
Voters in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, about 15 percent of the Ukrainian population, cast ballots on whether they approved of independence. But it was unclear whether that meant more autonomy within Ukraine, creation of an independent state or possibly an attempt by the Russian-speaking regions to join Russia.
Kyiv, the United States and its European allies denounced the vote as illegal. Kyiv said the voting would have “no legal consequences for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Ukraine is holding a presidential election on May 25.
Many in eastern Ukraine appeared to ignore Sunday’s voting.
One person said he voted for independence because he wants peace restored.
The Donetsk People’s Republic regional leader Pushilin said today Ukrainian troops will be considered “occupiers” after the referendum.
UPDATE: Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine say preliminary results of a contentious referendum show nearly 90 percent of voters have supported sovereignty for their region.