Polls open in Slavyansk despite shooting
There are about 60 polling stations in Slavyansk. Some of them had to be merged for security reasons. People began coming early even before the polls opened. Journalists visited some of them and saw ballot boxes ready for voting and the election staff at work. Music is being played at polling stations.
Intense shooting is heard on the outskirts of Slavyansk, Donetsk region, blocked by Ukrainian security forces, which is accompanied by shell burst, RIA Novosti correspondent reports on Sunday.
The shooting is taking place in the area of a feed-processing plant on the outskirts of the city controlled by supporters of federalization.
Yesterday evening intense artillery fire took place near Andreyevka, Slavyansk region.
On Sunday, a referendum on the status of the region is going to be hold. The electoral districts are scheduled to open at 8.00 am local time.
A security checkpoint of Ukrainian federalization supporters near the city of Slavyansk in east Ukraine's Donetsk Region is being shelled from 120-millimeter mortars by law enforcers loyal to Kiev, an Itar-Tass correspondent reported from the scene on Sunday.
Militia representatives say Kiev troops may start a storm after the shelling, which is accompanied by frequent sounds of explosions. There are no data on victims yet. The militia security checkpoint is situated in the vicinity of the village of Andreyevka near a TV tower. Problems with communications have already started. The checkpoint under fire is at a railroad crossing, where militiamen mounted a few freight cars blocking the road to the city.
Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were brought to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine's Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.
Southeastern Ukrainian protesters demand broader powers for their regions. Some demonstrators have seized government buildings.
The Kiev authorities have been conducting what they call an antiterrorism operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia, which does not recognize the de facto Ukrainian leaders, has condemned the operation, apparently aimed to crack down on Ukrainian federalization supporters.
Dozens of people have died in the past days in clashes and a fire in the southern city of Odessa after radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House and in the southeastern city of Mariupol when Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day.
The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions will hold referendums on self-determination on Sunday.
Shooting from automatic firearm and artillery was opened on Saturday evening in Andreyevka, Slavyansk region, where tomorrow a referendum on the status of the region is going to be held, RIA Novosti correspondent reports.
The local self-defence headquarters reports that shooting is going on against a checkpoint near the village of Andreyevka.
That checkpoint was repeatedly under fire on the part of servicemen subordinated to Kiev authorities. At present, it can be heard that both machine guns and artillery are being used to shoot at the checkpoint. Earlier, the checkpoint was also under mortar fire.