Regional authorities in eastern Ukraine have admitted that they cannot stop pro-Russia activists from holding an independence referendum.
On Friday, the mayor’s office in Donetsk published a statement, saying the upcoming referendum, due to be held on Sunday, cannot be prevented.
The statement said there were not enough police forces against the voting polls that would be set up in public sites such as schools.
With a combined population of over six million, voters in Donetsk and Luhansk will take part in “People’s Republics.”
Pro-Moscow protesters continue to occupy a number of government, police and other administrative buildings in many cities and towns in the region, demanding integration into neighboring Russia.
On April 23, Ukraine’s acting government re-launched its military operation in the eastern and southern regions in a bid to root out the pro-Russia demonstrations.
The military operation came despite an April 17 Geneva agreement signed by Kiev’s interim government together with the United States, Russia and the European Union, calling for all sides to ease crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian crisis began last November when the country’s then president Viktor Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The refusal triggered months of unrest and clashes with the police, which finally led to the ouster of Yanukovych on February 23. He then travelled to Russia, where he was given sanctuary.
Ukraine has experienced a fresh wave of unrest since Crimea declared independence from Kiev on March 17 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier, in which nearly 97 percent of the participants voted in favor of the move.
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