You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • Militia: Airstrikes in Libya’s capital kill 15
     CAIRO – A senior Islamist militia leader says two airstrikes targeting its positions in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, have killed 15 fighters and wounded 20.
  • Russian aid trucks begin to leave Ukraine
     DONETSK, Russia – Trucks marked as being from a bitterly disputed Russian aid convoy to Ukraine began returning to Russia on Saturday.
  • Kiev angry as Moscow sends convoy into Ukraine
    The conflict between Russia and Ukraine hit dangerous new heights Friday as Russia sent an enormous aid convoy into rebel-held Ukrainian territory without the permission of the Kiev government, a move that a top Ukrainian security official described
Advertisement
Associated Press
Voters in two insurgent Ukrainian regions cast ballots Sunday on whether to declare their areas sovereign republics in support of self-rule.

Separatists vote for self-rule, infuriate Ukraine

– Residents of two regions in eastern Ukraine turned out in significant numbers Sunday to vote in support of self-rule in a referendum that threatens to deepen divisions in a country already heading perilously toward civil war.

The wording of the referendum was vague, asking whether voters favored self-determination rather than outright independence or joining Russia. That meant some of those voting yes wanted more autonomy but not necessarily to split from Ukraine.

But the vote infuriated the Ukrainian government. The Foreign Ministry called it a “criminal farce” arranged by a “gang of Russian terrorists,” reflecting the government’s view that Russian agents are behind the breakaway movement. Many residents who oppose the separatist movement boycotted the vote.

Both the European Union and the Obama administration said they would not recognize the results of the balloting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which they called illegal.

Late Sunday night, Roman Lyagin, head of the separatist election commission in Donetsk, said that nearly three-quarters of the 3.32 million eligible voters in the region had cast ballots, a figure that was not possible to confirm independently. Just over 89 percent of voters approved the measure, he said. Figures for Luhansk were not immediately available.

The vote will complicate Ukraine’s efforts to re-establish order in the wake of revolt.

Ukraine has scheduled national elections for May 25. But given Sunday’s result, Lyagin said, “it is not logical to have the presidential election here on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.”

The U.S. and European governments have threatened Russia with further sanctions if the national vote is disrupted.

Ukrainian troops have been trying to wrest back control of eastern cities where separatists have seized government buildings and set up checkpoints manned by militias. Despite the government’s condemnation of the vote, its armed forces generally allowed balloting to proceed Sunday.

But Ukrainian national guardsmen shut down the voting in the eastern city of Krasnoarmeysk and later fired into a crowd outside the town hall, news services reported.

The Associated Press said one of its photographers saw two people lying motionless on the ground after the clash. Denis Pushilin, a leader of the rebellion, told the ITAR-Tass news agency that there were an unspecified number of deaths.

Advertisement