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Insurgents in eastern Ukraine declare independence

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 12, 2014 at 10:11 a.m.


Pro-Russian people applaud insurgent leader Denis Pushilin after his speech at barricades in front of a regional administration building that was seized by pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on Monday, May 12, 2014.

DONETSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine's Donetsk region declared independence Monday and asked to join Russia — a day after holding a hastily arranged vote on separatism that Ukraine's interim government and the West have declared a sham.

Organizers said about 90 percent of those who cast ballots Sunday in Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region backed sovereignty for the sprawling areas that lie along Russia's border and form Ukraine's industrial heartland.

There was no immediate response from the Kremlin to Monday's statement issued by one of the insurgent leaders, Denish Pushilin. But the Kremlin suggested earlier it had no intention of immediately annexing the two regions.

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