MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) – Protesters declared early Monday creation of the people’s republic in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a video posted on Youtube showed.
“The session of representatives of territorial communities, political parties and public organizations of the Luhansk region proclaims creation of the sovereign state, the Luhansk people’s republic,” according to the document, which was read out loud by a participant of the rally.
Protesters said they plan to hold a referendum simultaneously with similar referendums in Kharkiv and Donetsk on May 11. The question on the referendum ballot paper will ask voters “Do you support the act of proclamation of an independent state, Luhansk People’s Republic?”
The Luhansk People’s Republic plans to ask Russia to send peacekeeping troops “in the event of aggressive actions by the illegitimate Kiev authorities,” demonstrators said.
“From now on, together we are the free and independent Luhansk People’s republic!” one of protesters said.
Several hundred people attended the rally and the documents were read out by women who called themselves the coordinators of the “people’s council of the Luhansk region,” Ukraine’s Svoboda radio station reported.
Last week, the coordinator of the people’s community in Luhansk, Oleh Dereko, said voters at the referendum will decide whether the region should be an autonomous republic with broader powers as part of Ukraine or remain as part of Ukraine without changing its legal status.
Federalization supporters in the country’s eastern cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government, which took power as a result of a February coup, and declared creation of the people’s republic in early April.
Crimea, formerly a part of Ukraine, held a referendum on reunification with Russia on March 16 in reaction to dangerous nationalist rhetoric from the new leadership in Kiev. Over 96 percent of voters supported integration into the Russian Federation, and a treaty providing for reunification was signed on March 18. Ukraine’s interim government as well as its Western partners refused to recognize results of the referendum.