Donetsk separatists declare independence, set May 11 as date of referendum

A handful of pro-Russian separatists in the barricaded Donetsk Oblast government administration declared the creation of the Donetsk People’s Republic on April 7, as a few hundred activists continued to rally outside the building, which is surrounded by piles of car tires and wrapped in barbed wire.

People in the square cheered and congratulated each other, and sang the Russian national anthem. The Russian state flag was raised over the regional administration on Sunday.

The declaration of independence, which was read by the separatists during a live broadcast by one of their activists, said that “the people of Donetsk People’s Republic have an exclusive right for its land, subsoil, air space, water and other natural resources” and that the republic has a right for an independent financial, economic and other policies.

“The declaration is effective from the moment of its approval and serves as basis for approval of the Constitution of Donetsk People’s Republic,” it said.

Crimea’s Prime Minister Serhiy Aksyonov tweeted that a referendum for Donetsk Oblast independence will be held on May 11. Segodnya daily also quoted the separatists inside the building as saying that the date has been agreed with Luhansk and Kharkiv movements.

“If we’re impeded in holding a referendum, we will turn to Russia and ask them to move in their troops,” the newspaper quoted a separatist as saying.

To read the full story, visit The Kyiv Post.