Donetsk pro- and anti-Kyiv voters fearful after referendum

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Donetsk pro- and anti-Kyiv voters fearful after referendum

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Luisida de Ieso, euronews: “We turn now to our Ukraine correspondent, Sergio Cantone, in Donestk. What’s the mood like after the referendum, Sergio?”

Sergio Cantone, euronews: “There is a kind of enthusiasm in the camp of the, let’s say, ‘pro-Russia’ separatists, who are convinced they’ve had a great victory and that a page has to be turned now. It’s fairly calm in Donetsk. Anyone who voted against the majority in this referendum prefers to keep quiet about it.”

De Ieso: “Have you been able to talk to citizens who support the government in Kyiv? Are they scared?”

Cantone: “The citizens who support the central government, mostly the locals who want Ukraine to be united… there are a lot of them, and they are frightened. They’re mostly afraid about a possible civil war. The other side feels that as well, those who want separation. Civil war is the most frightening thing after the bloodshed of the past few days.”

De Ieso: “Has Kyiv’s military offensive had a negative effect on people’s moral?”

Cantone: “In a way, yes. We’ve talked to people in Mariupol, where, as you know, there was a battle last Friday. They weren’t really pro-Russian, they were actually more in favour of a united Ukraine, but they cast their votes because they hadn’t understood the military offensive, the use of force.”

De Ieso: “What do you think the prospects are after the referendum?”

Cantone: “Anything could happen. The question is, what use was the referendum? Do they now apply what the ballots expressed, and move towards sovereignty? Independence? Something else? No one knows. It would be very difficult to do something concrete immediately. But the referendum does add weight to the round table talks scheduled to start this Wednesday with Kyiv government representatives. That will be about decentralisation in the country, or, as they say here, federalisation. But the two parties’ positions are extremely far apart.”