Ukraine’s Strategy to Disrupt Vote: Open Fire on Crowds

Shootings, Ballot Seizures Don't Stop Referendum

Efforts by Ukraine’s interim government to disrupt Sunday’s referendum in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk appeared to take center stage in the ongoing military operation against the region, though ultimately do not appear to have significantly hindered voting.

The strategy was most apparent in Krasnoariysk, where National Guard forces rolled into town, seized four public schools used as polling places, and opened fire on a crowd of voters at town hall, killing at least one.

In Mariupol, troops also managed to capture a van full of completed ballots, seizing some 10,000 ballots. With millions of eligible voters and a high turnout, this didn’t put the result in doubt.

Nor, indeed, will the results of the vote, which were roughly 89 percent in favor of the People’s Republic of Donetsk protest leaders, going to change the interim government’s policy of military crackdowns, as they insist the voting was “illegal,” as is the protesting against their rule.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.