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Separatists Vote To Split From Ukraine; Russia ‘Respects’ Decision

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In the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk, the "chairman of the Central Election Commission" Alexander Malykhin shows a document with the results of a referendum outside the regional state administration building Monday. He said voters had c

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk, the "chairman of the Central Election Commission" Alexander Malykhin shows a document with the results of a referendum outside the regional state administration building Monday. He said voters had chosen to leave Ukraine.

A referendum on independence from Ukraine shows strong support for secession, according to separatist leaders in the districts where Sunday's vote was held. Kiev and Western governments say the vote is illegitimate.

Russia, which has been accused of orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, says it "respects the expression of will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions." But the Kremlin's statement also called for dialogue with Kiev, not violence.

Majorities of Ukrainians — in its east, its west, and among Russian speakers — want the country to remain unified, according to recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center. Overall, support for keeping the current borders ran at 77 percent.

A "round table" meeting between Ukraine's government and leaders of civil groups is slated for Wednesday, Reuters reports. Ukraine plans to hold presidential elections on May 25.

From Donetsk, NPR's Jessica Golloher reports for our Newscast unit:

"Pro-Moscow demonstrators here in Donetsk are declaring victory in a referendum to secede from Ukraine. It's unclear if the declaration of self-rule means the Luhansk and Donetsk regions will stay independent or possibly join Russia.

"Donetsk elections commissioner Roman Lyagin says 89 percent voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine. A representative from the Luhansk region says more than 94 percent of residents voted in favor of the referendum as well.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier urged pro-Russian demonstrators to delay the vote, saying it could create dialogue with Kiev. The Kremlin now says it hopes the practical implementation of the referendum results will take place in a civilized way and without violence."

A referendum on independence from Ukraine shows strong support for secession, according to separatist leaders in the districts where Sunday's vote was held. Kiev and Western governments say the vote is illegitimate.

Russia, which has been accused of orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, says it "respects the expression of will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions." But the Kremlin's statement also called for dialogue with Kiev, not violence.

Majorities of Ukrainians — in its east, its west, and among Russian speakers — want the country to remain unified, according to recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center. Overall, support for keeping the current borders ran at 77 percent.

A "round table" meeting between Ukraine's government and leaders of civil groups is slated for Wednesday, Reuters reports. Ukraine plans to hold presidential elections on May 25.

From Donetsk, NPR's Jessica Golloher reports for our Newscast unit:

"Pro-Moscow demonstrators here in Donetsk are declaring victory in a referendum to secede from Ukraine. It's unclear if the declaration of self-rule means the Luhansk and Donetsk regions will stay independent or possibly join Russia.

"Donetsk elections commissioner Roman Lyagin says 89 percent voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine. A representative from the Luhansk region says more than 94 percent of residents voted in favor of the referendum as well.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier urged pro-Russian demonstrators to delay the vote, saying it could create dialogue with Kiev. The Kremlin now says it hopes the practical implementation of the referendum results will take place in a civilized way and without violence."

 
Categories: International Affairs
Tags: ukraine, russia