22.1 C
May 19, 2022

Ukraine rebels hold referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s two eastern regions are holding “self-rule” referendums – a move condemned by the Ukrainian government and the West, the BBC informs.
BBC correspondents at polling stations reported chaotic scenes, no voting booths in places and no electoral register.
Self-proclaimed leaders in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are going ahead with the vote despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to postpone it.
Ukraine says the vote could result in the “self-destruction” of the regions.
There is only one question on the ballot papers, in both Ukrainian and Russian: “Do you support the act of state self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic/Luhansk People’s Republic?”
According to CNN, many of the voters were not on the registration lists, which were outdated, but were allowed to vote after showing identification documents. A CNN crew saw several people vote twice at one polling station, where the ballot boxes were decorated with new Donetsk independence flags. There also seemed to be no system in place to prevent one person from voting at multiple polling stations.
The polls were to stay open for 14 hours, rather than the usual 12, to allow time to add people to the voter list if necessary, the election committee has said, adding that access to the most recent electoral rolls has been barred by Kiev.
A vote for autonomy is a vote for the self-destruction of the east, Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has said.
The BBC informs that there are still outbreaks of violence, with fighting reported overnight around the rebel-held city of Sloviansk.
BBC reporters across eastern Ukraine have described the situation: At the Dom Kultura polling station in Sloviansk, organiser Vitaly Vyatko told the BBC voting was going well. Pro Russia militiamen in fatigues and balaclavas are voting alongside grandmothers; But one pro-Ukrainian head teacher reported she received death threats after refusing to let the rebels use her school as a polling station; The BBC’s Piers Schofield, in Donetsk, says the process appears haphazard. Although there are voters’ lists in polling stations, one can vote at any station.

Related posts

Poland road crash near Warsaw leaves 18 dead


Syria crisis: Fresh fighting in Damascus and Aleppo

Nine O' Clock

Joy as Chile miners reach surface