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Eastern Ukrainian Regions Hold Referendum On 'Self-Rule'

Ukraine's acting government has slammed the referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk as illegimate.
Posted at 8:20 AM, May 11, 2014

​Voters in two of Ukraine’s most restive regions will decide Sunday whether to split from the rest of the country.

The voting is taking place in Donetsk and Luhansk where pro-Russian separatists have been occupying government buildings since March. (Via RT

Kiev considers this vote for self-rule illegitimate. Ukraine’s acting president recently called a vote for independence in these regions a vote for self-destruction. (Via Euronews

According to NPR, voters in Donetsk will be asked a simple yes or no question on their ballots: "Do you support the act of self-rule of the Donetsk People's Republic?"​ The ballots in Luhansk are reportedly similar. 

The Kyiv Post reports there will be no international observers present to monitor the some 2,900 polling stations. 

Election officials had promised high voter turnout, though it’s expected those opposed to the referendums will largely sit out the vote. Here's how a BBC correspondent describes the scene. (Via YouTube / Graham Phillips

"In the ballot box itself, I didn’t see a single paper there that was marked no. From what I can see, everyone turning out here, and everyone we’ve been speaking to, is turning out to vote yes." (Via BBC)

​The vote in many ways feels like a repeat of Crimea's vote for independence back in March. An expert at American University explains to CNN, the sentiment in Crimea was very different.  

ANTON FEDYASHIN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: "Crimea is overwhelmingly Russian-populated and the feeling there was much stronger for reunification with Russia.​"

Recent polls, like this one from Pew, have suggested a majority of the country wants to stay unified with Ukraine. Only in Crimea do a majority support allowing regions to secede. 

Unlike the voting in Crimea, organizers in Donetsk and Luhansk say they will decide later whether to seek full independence, be absorbed by Russia or stay on as a part of Ukraine but with greater autonomy.