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Could Donetsk be the next part of Ukraine to be annexed? To Britain?

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Could Donetsk be the next part of Ukraine to be annexed? To Britain?

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Gallows humour is seemingly alive and well in eastern Ukraine.

Web users in Donetsk have suggested holding a spoof referendum to see if the city’s inhabitants want to be annexed by Britain.

It is not quite as stupid as it first sounds – John Hughes, a Welsh engineer and businessman, founded Yuzovka, what is modern-day Donetsk.

The online poll reportedly attracted 7,000 votes, with 61% saying they were in favour of joining the UK.

The appeal said: “Only you decide where your children live and in what language they will speak.

“We demand a referendum on the return to our original Yuzovka bosom – a part of Great Britain!”

The appeal comes a week after Russia began the process of annexing Crimea.

Hughes, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, an industrialist, buying a shipyard aged 28 and owning a foundry by the age of 36.

It wasn’t however until 1870, aged 55, that he became involved in Russia. At the wish of the Russian government, he developed a metal works on a piece of land north of the Azov Sea. Its subsequent expansion spawned a settlement which grew in its shadow – named Hughesovka, which, in 1961, became Donetsk.