Polling stations are being prepared across Donetsk for a referendum on Sunday, May 11. It has been called by the electoral commission of self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk.
Kyiv and Brussels have condemned the referendum as illegitimate. Moscow has called on the organisers to postpone the vote.
It is unclear what a “Yes” result would lead to. The referendum question is opaque, asking: “Do you support the People’s Republic of Donetsk?”
The question appears to be designed to appeal both to those who want to remain part of Ukraine but with more autonomy and to those who would like the region to break away, like Crimea, and join Russia.
“I will not participate in the referendum. I don’t want it to be legitimised, as I have an entirely different view,” one Donetsk resident told euronews.
“I think the referendum is necessary because we need to decide, and all Ukrainians should decide, what it is going to happen next,” said another.
The organisers of the vote have declared no minimum turnout for the referendum result to stand and have invited no outside observers.
Roman Lyagin, Chairman of the Electoral Commission of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk told euronews: “We have the support of all the city authorities of Donetsk. We’re doing what we should and we demand the right to self-determination.”
Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone reported from Donetsk: “The supporters of self determination for Donetsk and Donbass are apparently looking for a fait accompli that would give them further legitimacy. But their ultimate goal is still to be unveiled.”