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Referendums in Ukraine Show Desire for Freedom – Russian Official

© RIA Novosti . Vladimir Fedorenko / Go to the photo bankRussian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin - Sputnik International
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Referendums in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions have demonstrated their residents desire for freedom, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Monday.

MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) – Referendums in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions have demonstrated their residents desire for freedom, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Monday.

"The results of the referendums show the opinion of millions of Ukrainians in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the opinion that their rights … are now massively violated," Naryshkin told reporters.

"The referendum demonstrates their desire to protect their rights, the desire for freedom, in fact," the speaker said.

He added that many claim that the referendum itself is illegitimate, however, according to Naryshkin, that does not mean that the referendum was not held and that its results are non-existent.

On Sunday, residents in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions went to the polls in a self-rule referendum, with ballots in Ukrainian and Russian asking whether they supported the acts of state self-determination of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

In the Luhansk region, voter turnout was over 79 percent, with the turnout in the regional capital exceeding 76 percent. According to preliminary data, about 90 per cent of people in both regions voted for independence.

The Kremlin said in a statement Monday it respected the will of the people in Ukraine’s southeast and urged the regime in Kiev to do the same. Moscow said it condemned "the use of force including military hardware against peaceful citizens which led to deaths" during the referendums.

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