21:37 GMT12 April 2021
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    Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, dismissed on Tuesday rumors about plans to conduct a referendum on joining Russia.

    DONETSK (Sputnik) — Zakharchenko dismissed Ukrainian media reports that the self-proclaimed people's republic of Donetsk aims to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

    "There will be no referendum. We will have elections. If there is a need to conduct a referendum, I will personally inform you," Zakharchenko told RIA Novosti.

    "Ukrainian media spread the information claiming that instead of elections we are going to hold a referendum," he said.

    Donetsk and Lugansk self-proclaimed republics decided to hold separate elections of mayors and district governors on October 18 and November 1 respectively. The rest of Ukraine is set to vote in local elections on October 25.

    Crimea seceded from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in March 2014, following a referendum in which 96 percent of the voters supported rejoining Russia.

    Most world powers, including Ukraine, the United States and the European Union did not recognize the legitimacy of the referendum and stated Crimea was "annexed."

    Following Crimea's reunification with Russia, Kiev launched a military offensive in Donbass against local independence supporters who had refused to recognize a coup-imposed government, which had come to power in February 2014.


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    local elections, referendum, Alexander Zakharchenko, Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk
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