Asked by the newspaper whether Putin’s attitude would be influenced by the fact that he himself had asked the federalization supporters to postpone the referendum until a later date, the presidential press secretary pointed out as follows: “Not asked but made such a recommendation.”
“However, it was difficult to heed the recommendation, even considering the Russian President’s prestige. Taking into account the real combat actions, the residents (there) had to act according to their own plan and proceeding from the actual situation,” Peskov said.
The United States and the European Union (EU) have already declared that they do not recognize the results of voting on the status of Lugansk and Donetsk Regions and warned about the possibility of applying economic sanctions against Russia, if Ukraine’s presidential elections, scheduled for May 25, get frustrated owing to the voting in Ukraine’s east. Peskov described reproaches levelled at Russia by the US and the EU as an “absolute folly”.
“Why could not the West prevent the use of armoured personnel carriers in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk and avoid the gunning down of civilians? They did not use their influence and they do not give a hang while Russia is blamed for everything,” he emphasized.
Almost 90 percent of voters in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region said “yes” answering the referendum question whether they support the Act of state self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Roman Lyagin, head of the republic’s central electoral commission, said. The final results of the vote will be announced on May 12.
Only 10.19 percent of those who took part in the referendum voted against statehood of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and 0.74 percent of voters deliberately spoiled their ballots. The ofiicial voter turnout in the Donetsk Region was 74.87 percent.
The referendum was held on Sunday in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where supporters of Ukraine’s federalization proclaimed in April the establishment of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The voting took place as authorities in Kiev were ramping up their military operation in the country’s southeast. During the voting in the town of Krasnoarmeysk, armed men identified as members of the Ukrainian national guardopened fire on a crowd outside the town hall, killing one civilian.
Voter turnout in the Lugansk Region was 81%, RIA Novosti reports. The official results of voting there will be announced on May 12 at a rally, Vasiliy Nikitin, spokesman for the pro-federalization Army of the Southeast, said.