10 May, 17:26

Donetsk referendum to be held without independent observers

Donetsk referendum to be held without independent observers

The Donetsk referendum to be held in the Donetsk Region on Sunday will take place without the participation of independent observers because none of them sent a participation letter, chairman of the central election committee of the declared Donetsk People’s Republic Roman Liagin said.

"Observers did not send participation requests. We did not refuse anyone, there were no applications," Liagin said at a press-conference on Saturday.

He added that public control over the referendum could be exercised by journalists. He said that currently over 470 journalists are accredited in the Donetsk regional state administration controlled by militias.

According to Liagin, the Donetsk Region has never before raised such an interest, not even during the 2012 European Football Championship. The Donetsk and Lugansk Regions are to hold referendums on the status of those regions on Sunday, while a presidential election in the Ukraine is scheduled for 25 May.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged federalization supporters to postpone the referendum so as to create conditions for a dialogue to deescalate the situation in the country. But the Donetsk region and Lugansk militias decided to hold the referendum on 11 May, as originally planned.

Answering the journalists’ question if there was any limit for the voting turnout, Liagin said at the press-conference that the referendum will be considered legitimate in any case.

He added that, based on opinion poll results, organizers of the referendum are expecting a 75% turnout.

Slavyansk, Donbas fully ready for holding referendum

Ukrainian Slavyansk is fully ready for holding the referendum, "people's mayor" of the city, Vyacheslav Ponomarev said Saturday. Most cities in Donbas are also ready for the May 11 referendum on the region's status, Donetsk People's Republic government cochairman Myroslav Rudenko told Interfax.

The referendum on the status of regions is scheduled for May 11 in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged supporters of federalization to postpone the referendum in order to create conditions for a dialogue on de-escalation of the situation in the country.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged supporters of federalization to postpone the referendum in order to create conditions for a dialogue on de-escalation of the situation in the country.

A people's council took place in Donetsk, which adopted a decision to hold a referendum on May 11, as it had been planned. The same choice was made in Lugansk.

"We are fully ready for holding the referendum. Territorial commissions are created; premises and ballot boxes are ready. The referendum will take place in every kind of weather," Ponomarev said at a press conference in Slavyansk.

He said that in total, there would be 56 polling stations; security would be enforced both in the city and in the polling stations. It is planned to send ballot boxes to remote villages, including those cut off by block-posts of the Ukrainian army. Policemen, militiamen and Cossacks will be on duty at the polling stations.

"The biggest populated localities are prepared for the referendum [in Donbass], and only the finishing touches are being applied. The cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk were the first to accept ballot papers and to report their readiness for the referendum," Donetsk People's Republic government cochairman Myroslav Rudenko said.

He said some problems were possible in western parts of the region and in the city of Mariupol, where fierce clashes occurred yesterday afternoon.

"There may be certain problems only in the cities, which have either experienced a strong aggression, such as Mariupol, or are situated in the western parts and border the Dnipropetrovsk region where [Ukrainian] military units are stationed and nationalists feel freer," Rudenko said.

He added that security would be tightened on the referendum day. "Reinforced patrols will be on duty in populated localities. We will put an emphasis on the protection of polling stations and socially significant facilities," Rudenko said.

In March, rallies of supporters of federalization discontent with the actions of the new Kiev authorities began in the East of Ukraine - in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk.

Later, the protests spread to a number of cities of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Since the middle of April, the authorities in Kiev are conducting an operation involving the armed forces against the protesters.

Moscow believes Kiev's decision to use the army against the people to be an extremely dangerous development of events.

Read also:

Kharkov federalists decide against holding referendum on May 11

Referendum on May 11 can't be stopped completely - Donetsk government

Despite shortages and blockade, Slavyansk remains defiant - journalist

Ukraine's Donetsk and Lugansk regions to hold 11 May referendum as planned

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