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Posted: Friday, 09 May 2014 7:05AM

Referendum to Split from Ukraine Still Scheduled



iStock/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- The vote must go on for secession in eastern Ukraine, much to chagrin of the central government in Kiev.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin urging pro-Moscow separatists to postpone a referendum to split from Ukraine, the leaders of the "Donetsk People’s Republic" said Thursday they would hold the vote anyway on Sunday, May 11.

It's not known whether Ukrainians in Donetsk, the most populous region of the country, will approve a referendum to become an independent republic.

Should that happen, Donetsk will almost certainly follow Crimea's lead from last March to join the Russian Federation.

However, polls taken last month indicate that most people don't favor breaking away from Ukraine even as separatists have gained control of government facilities in nearly a dozen towns and cities in the east.

Attempts by Ukrainian security forces to retake the cities from insurgent control have been minimal at best.

Putin has recently softened his stance on differences he has with the Ukrainian government, but there is also no evidence that tens of thousands of Russian troops have pulled back from near the border of eastern Ukraine.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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