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Pro-Russians Declare Victory in Donetsk, Ukraine Calls Referendum a Farce

Pro-Russians Declare Victory in Donetsk, Ukraine Calls Referendum a Farce

The pro-Russian forces in charge of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) declared victory in the referendum they held on May 11. The leaders claim 90 percent of the voters decided to break away from Ukraine and form a self-reliant DPR. Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said the referendum was a “farce” and the country does not recognize the outcome.

Turchynov said that, according to Interior Ministry officials and experts observing the vote, “only 24 percent of the population eligible to vote in Luhansk Oblast and just over 32 percent of the voting age population in Donetsk Oblast participated in the vote.

Self-proclaimed leader of the DPR addressed a crowd outside of Donetsk.

Journalists in Ukraine spotted many voting violations, including one man leaving a booth with five ballots. On Saturday, a car with 100,000 ballots marked “YES” was found along with weapons, a DPR patch and a St. George ribbon. The ballots were printed on regular paper with no watermark and the hastily made polling stations had no voter rolls. Ukrainians in Moscow also voted in the referendum.

The math is tad off:

The West agreed with Ukraine and do not recognize the outcome. The European Union agreed there need to be tougher sanctions, but will debate on how tough the sanctions should be. The leaders want to expand the sanctions to hit people and companies connected to Crimea’s annexation in March. Moscow, on the other hand, recognizes the referendum.

On May 12, the Kremlin’s press service released a statement saying that “Moscow respects the will of the people in Donetsk and Lugansk and hopes that the practical realization of the outcome of the referendums will be carried out in a civilized manner, without resorting to violence, through dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk.”

Germany said Ukraine will hold talks with politicians and civil groups on May 14 as the country continues to unravel under the new Kyiv government.

“We need national dialogue in Ukraine with the participation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss crucial themes like decentralization, constitutional questions, constitutional reforms,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters at a regular government press conference on Monday.

“We welcome the fact that preparations for a round table have progressed and that on Wednesday a first round table meeting will be held,” he added. A spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to say which groups would be involved.

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