Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for an end to the Ukrainian military offensive against its eastern provinces and the delaying of Sunday’s referendum in those regions have both been for naught, as the offensive continues and the protest leaders say they are going to continue on with the vote, as planned.
Leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic say they voted unanimously to continue the referendum, saying a civil war was beginning and the vote was the only way to stop it.
The referendum language is vague, making no mention of either Russia or Ukraine at all, and simply asking voters for a yes/no vote on if they approve of the Donetsk People’s Republic itself.
Since the leadership of the protest movement is greatly divided about their eventual goals, this wording was probably the only way to reach a consensus. Though some of the protest leaders are calling for secession and accession into Russia, many are simply seeking increased autonomy and guarantees for the rights of ethnic Russians within Ukraine’s government, and still others are hoping to revise Ukraine’s system of governance to a more federalized system, where individual provinces nationwide would have more power.
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