Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk Call for Secession Referendum

Pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, Ukraine / AP

Pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, Ukraine / AP

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Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed the region independent on Monday and demanded a referendum for secession be held no later than May 11.

The Associated Press reports:

Pro-Russian separatists who seized a provincial administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed the region independent Monday — an echo of events prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Ukrainian authorities called the move an attempt by Russia to sow unrest. […]

Speaking in a televised address, acting President Oleksandr Turchinov called the events gripping eastern regions — where pro-Russian activists seized government buildings in at least three cities Sunday — an operation undertaken by Russia to sow instability.

“Anti-terrorism measures will be adopted against those that took up weapons,” Turchinov said, adding that parliament would convene Tuesday to consider tougher penalties for separatist actions and even ban parties that engage in separatism.