12 May 2014, 14:31

Referendum in two eastern Ukrainian regions shows that their residents want freedom – Duma Speaker

Referendum in two eastern Ukrainian regions shows that their residents want freedom – Duma Speaker

The referendum in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions indicates that residents of the southeastern regions of Ukraine want freedom and protection of their rights, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said, according to Interfax.

"The referendum shows their wish to defend their rights, essentially, their wish to be free," Naryshkin told reporters on Monday when asked to comment on the outcome of the referendum.

Naryshkin said the results of the referendum clearly show the opinion of millions of Ukrainians who live in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, "the opinion that their rights are massively violated in the current state system."

World should recognize Donetsk, Lugansk referendums - Russian MP

The referendums on the status of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions demonstrate the choice of local residents and the world should recognize it, Federation Council member Sergei Tsekov (Crimea) said.

"Unfortunately, the self-proclaimed authorities of Ukraine did not let [the regions] hold their referendums in a calm atmosphere, but, clearly, the vote demonstrated the will of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The referendums have totally convincing results: we saw how enthusiastic people were about the referendum and how many of them came to polling stations," Tsekov told Interfax on Monday.

People in the southeast of Ukraine took part in the referendum although it was held against the backdrop of armed clashes, which meant they were confident of their choice, the parliamentarian said.

"If the world unwaveringly supports democratic values and wishes peace and accord in Ukraine, it should recognize the referendums and do its best to assist Ukrainian regions and the center to sit down and agree on their future," Tsekov said.

Crimean first vice-premier hails Donetsk, Lugansk referendums outcomes

The Donetsk and Lugansk regions have held referendums on their status in spite of Kiev's resistance. The Donetsk referendum's outcomes demonstrate the choice made by people, Crimean first deputy prime minister Rustam Temirgaliev said.

"People in the Donetsk and Lugansk have chosen independence although the self-proclaimed Kiev "authorities" tried to thwart the referendum. Some 89% voted "for" in the Donetsk region alone! We are now expecting self-determination of the Odessa and Kharkov regions," Temirgaliev wrote on Facebook on Monday, Interfax reports.

New entity to be formed after referendum in Ukraine's southeast – Donetsk region people's governor

A new constituent entity will be formed in Ukraine after the referendum in its eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions, people's governor of Ukraine's Donetsk region Pavel Gubarev, who has been recently released from prison in Kiev, told the Russia 24 television channel, according to Itar-Tass.

"Referendum is everything for us," he said. "It is our independence, it is formation of a new entity - the Donetsk People's Republic. But this new entity is only the first step to our forming a bigger entity of Novorossia [Novorussia is a historical term referring to territory conquered by the Russian Empire in the 1700s and made part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union, in 1922], the former southeastern Ukraine."

Gubarev took part in Sunday’s voting and noted high turnout. "There have never been such high turnouts at any previous polling," he said.

He also mentioned the conditions he had been kept in prison since early March. He said physical and moral pressure had been exerted on him at prison. "I don't seek a martyr halo, I am a soldier after all. And I look upon what happened there as a part of my fight. People fought here, I fought there. I had no contacts with investigators, I gave no evidence and this was the core of the conflict," he said. "They put a red mark on my dossier - 'prone to escape…' I slept on a plank bed with no mattress."

The leader of Ukraine Southeast, Pavel Gubarev, was released from prison on May 7. The Donetsk region's self-defense forces swapped him for three detained officers of the Ukrainian Security Service. Gubarev was proclaimed people's governor of Donetsk at a rally in the city's central square on March 1. Shorty after, Ukraine's Security Service opened a criminal case against him and he was arrested on March 6.

On Sunday, federalization supporters in Ukraine's southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions are holding referendums after their regions proclaimed the establishment of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in April. The voting proceeds in conditions of ongoing punitive operation of the Kiev authorities in Ukraine's eastern areas.

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