11 May 2014, 11:33

Donetsk referendum under way, most active voting in Maruipol - local election commissioner

Donetsk referendum under way, most active voting in Maruipol - local election commissioner

The majority of polling stations in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region are operating normally, people are voting in a referendum on the region’s future status, Boris Litvinov, the chief election commissioner of the Donetsk People’s Republic, told reporters on Sunday. Queue to various polling stations have formed in Mariupol. Many people want to vote in self-determination of the Donetsk region referendum on Sunday morning, Rossiya-24 TV channel correspondent reports.

"The referendum began. Voting is under way. Of course, there are some problems, but the majority of polling stations are working," he said.

As many as 1,527 polling stations have been organized in the Donetsk region. Due to communication problems, there is no full information about the situation in a number of polling stations, Litvinov acknowledged.

At least 118 stationary and 12 mobile polling stations are operating in the region’s capital Donetsk.

All the polling places opened in the town of Artyomovsk and 35 stationary and five mobile polling stations opened in Kramatorsk.

People in the neighboring Lugansk region also went to polls on Sunday to vote in a similar referendum organized by federalization supporters. Turnout at the referendum on the status of Lugansk region at 9.00 local time (an hour after the polls opened) was estimated at 22 percent, the organizers said to RIA Novosti.

Kiev used troops, armor and heavy artillery against federalization activists in both regions in a fierce attempt to disrupt the vote. Dozens of civilians were killed.

Polls open in referendum in Ukraine's Donetsk, Lugansk regions

Voting began in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions at 8:00 am local time on Sunday, May 11, in a referendum on those regions' status. There is only one question on the ballot sheets: Do you support the state independence of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Donetsk region or the Lugansk People's Republic in the Lugansk region?

More than 1,500 district elections commissions have been organized across the Donetsk region. They will stay open from 8:00 am (12:00 am GMT) till 10:00 pm local time (03:00 am GMT) with the exception of Slavyansk where voting will end at 6 pm (11 pm GMT) for security reasons.

More than 3.1 million ballots have been printed for the referendum in the Donetsk region.

Earlier, the Central Elections Commission of the Donetsk People's Republic announced that the referendum would be declared valid irrespective of the turnout.

In the neighboring Lugansk region with a population of 2.4 million, polling stations in the mining towns of Alchevsk and Popasnaya will stay open until 11 pm local time (04:00 GMT) to enable the miners working night shifts to come and vote.

About 1.7 million ballots by the number of the region's eligible voters were printed and delivered to all of the region's polling districts. More than 1,610 polling stations were organized across the region. The Lugansk Central Elections Commission is headquartered in the region's administrative center, Lugansk.

The Lugansk People's Governor Valery Bolotov announced earlier that the outcome of the vote would be valid under any turnout.

Residents of Mariupol line up to polling stations - TV 

People lined up to polling stations in Mariupol for the Sunday referendum on the self-determination of Ukraine's Donetsk region.

"The atmosphere [at the polling stations] is very lively. Many people have come to vote. They form long lines," a correspondent for Russia 24 channel reports from Mariupol.However, he said, there is no information about the exact number of polling stations.

"The stations are under guard. Self-defense members and ordinary people patrol surrounding territories to prevent provocations," the correspondent said adding that neither the developments of May 9, nor possible provocations have changed the determination of voters to take part in the referendum, Interfax reports.

Polls open in Slavyansk despite shooting

In Slavyansk, Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, polling stations in a region-wide referendum on the status of the Donetsk People's Republic opened as planned on Sunday despite artillery fire traded by Ukrainian troops at roadblocks on the outskirts of the besieged town, a RIA Novosti news agency correspondent reports.

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.

Read also:

Intense shooting heard in Slavyansk outskirts - reports

Donetsk Republic's election committee denies ahead-of-schedule start of referendum

Ukrainian security forces pulling in combat equipment to Lugansk – people's governor

Donetsk region prepares 1,500 voting stations for referendum

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