Ukraine's Turchinov: Referendum to Secede Would Be Catastrophic

Ukraine's Turchinov: Referendum to Secede Would Be Catastrophic

Ukraine’s government sent a warning to the pro-Russian forces as Donetsk and Luhansk prepare for a referendum on Sunday.

“(Secession from Ukraine)…would be a step into the abyss for these regions,” Turchinov said on his website. “Those who stand for self-rule do not understand that it would mean complete destruction of the economy, social programs and life in general for the majority of the population in these regions.”

Ukraine and the West claim the referendum is illegal and neither will recognize the vote. The ballot asks one question: “Do you support the act of state self-reliance of the Donetsk People’s Republic?” There is no mention of Ukraine or Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the West when he asked the pro-Russians to delay the referendum and consider open talks with Kiev. Turchynov asked the pro-Russians to talk with him but said the “terrorists” would not be included. The forces said no and decided to move on with the referendum. Journalists in the cities are posting pictures of men building the polling stations.

On Friday, which was Victory Day, the port city of Mariupol saw one of its worst days where between two and 20 people were killed. At the same time, Putin escalated tensions when he visited Crimea for the first time since Moscow annexed the peninsula from Ukraine.