Eastern Ukraine region votes on secession separatists poised to win

first_imgDONETSK, Ukraine — Galvanized by fear and propaganda, residents of eastern Ukraine voted Sunday in a widely condemned and unmonitored referendum on independence that is expected to be declared an overwhelming victory by its separatist organizers.Ukraine’s central government in Kiev denounced the balloting in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk as illegal, noting that territorial changes can be put to a vote only on a nationwide basis.U.S. and European leaders warned the Kremlin and the pro-Russia militants occupying government headquarters in the eastern Ukraine region that they were enflaming already dangerously volatile passions in the deeply divided area long dominated by Moscow.Russian President Vladimir Putin had called four days earlier for postponement of the vote at the urging of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Russia to allow more time for negotiation and diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis.But deadly confrontations earlier this month in the Ukrainian port cities of Odessa and Mariupol presented by Kremlin-controlled media as evidence of fascist aggression by the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev provided a groundswell of support for distancing this largely Russian-speaking region from the rest of Ukraine.last_img