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Ukraine separatists push ahead with referendum Updated: 2014-05-12 03:40:06 KST

Ukraine separatists push ahead with referendum

Local residents in two of the most tense regions in eastern Ukraine lined up to vote on Sunday.
The referendums in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, pushed by pro-Russian separatists, asks a simple 'yes' or 'no' question about whether they support the act of independence.

"When I saw that the interim government had taken such illegal actions toward us, I decided to vote for myself."

Residents in the capital of Kiev, however, have expressed opposition to the poll, calling for national unity.

"This is not a referendum, but a lie. It's absolutely Russia's provocation. Russia just wants to copy the script of Crimea's independence and separate Donetsk and Luhansk from Ukraine."

The referendums are similar to the one in Crimea in March that approved secession from Ukraine.
Crimea was formally annexed by Russia soon thereafter.
While referendum organizers showed confidence about the polling process, reports from international media outlets say several people were seen voting twice, while some areas didn't even have voting booths in place.
The vote comes despite calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone it.
It's also regarded as illegal by the West and the Ukraine government which called the ballot self-destructive and a step into the abyss for the regions.
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the focus should be on Ukraine's nationwide election on May 25th.
The two leaders agreed that if the nationwide vote does not take place, there will be consequences, including stronger sanctions against Russia.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
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