Referendum results in Eastern Ukraine show wide support for self-rule
The results of referendums have been announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths.
Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk Region have endorsed political independence from Kiev, the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic", Roman Lyagin, announced.
In Lugansk Region 96.2 percent of voters supported the region's self-rule, according to the final figures announced by the local election commission.
Despite fears that amid Kiev's intensified military crackdown ? which killed at least two civilians on referendum day ? the turnout will be low, in both of the region it was unexpectedly high. In Donetsk it reached 74.87%, while in Lugansk the central election commission says 81% of eligible voters came to the polling stations.
With such a huge turnout, the referendums have been recognized as valid by both election commissions.
The acting president of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, has condemned as a "farce" referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.