Donetsk Separatists: Ukraine Army Will Be Considered Occupiers After Referendum

Donetsk Separatists: Ukraine Army Will Be Considered Occupiers After Referendum

The pro-Russian forces behind the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) said the official results of east Ukraine’s referendum will be available on Monday and that is when the group will decide its next steps.

Roman Lyagin, DPR central election committee head, was cautious about the consequences of Sunday’s referendum:

“We just want to declare our right on self-determination. This means status of Donetsk oblast will not be changed after the referendum results are released – we will not stop being a part of Ukraine, we will not become a part of Russia, we will just tell the world that [we] want changes,” Lyagin emphasized.

“Maybe, we will remain a part of Ukrainian state, unitarian or federative; maybe, we will become a part of Russia. Maybe, we will become an independent state or a state within a confederative model,” he added.

Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed governor of DPR, drew a much harsher line. He told people in Donetsk the new republic will form its own government and military, and the Ukrainian military that currently resides in Donetsk will be considered occupiers:

“All military troops on our territory after the official announcement of referendum results will be considered illegal and declared occupiers,” Denis Pushilin, a leader of the self-styled Donetsk republic said, according to [Interfax].

“It is necessary to form state bodies and military authorities as soon as possible,” Interfax said he added.

The referendum did not stop the Ukrainian army from its task to reclaim east Ukraine from the pro-Russian forces. The National Guard, which was formed with over 60,000 people in March, managed to stop the voting in Krasnoarmeysk.

The Interior Minister also announced the army shut down all the checkpoints surrounding Donetsk, reportedly without any military or pro-Ukrainian civilian losses.

There are people and journalists tweeting out numbers, but there are no electoral rolls located in the makeshift polling stations nor international observers. This will make it hard to weed out fraud and determine exactly how many people voted. A few journalists tweeted out conversations with people who said they voted more than once. On Saturday, a car with over 100,000 ballots marked YES was found.