High turnout for 'self-rule' referendum in eastern Ukraine

Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed

Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic," says a high-turn out of voters for the referendum has been witnessed.

DONETSK – Pro-Russian separatists have reiterated their demand for a federation in eastern Ukraine, where a “self-rule” referendum was held Sunday.

Speaking in front of the regional government building in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, a leader of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" has claimed that there was a high turn-out for the referendum.

Although Pushilin was not clear about whether Donetsk would join Russia, like Crimea, if the outcome of the referendum was a resounding "yes" to splitting from Ukraine, he said that the dialogue with the administration in Kiev had stalled following the latest incidences in Odessa and Mariupol.

On May 2, 46 people died in the city of Odessa when the House of Trade Unions building was set on fire during clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups while in Mariupol 7 others were killed during an attack on police headquarters.

Pushilin has said that the number one goal of the "Donetsk People's Republic" is to set-up a federation. However, a new referendum could be declared in order to decide whether that federation would join Russia or stay within Ukraine.

The ballot boxes will be open until 10pm local time in Donetsk, Luhansk and Slovyansk, in a move that has been condemned by the U.S. and EU and Ukrainian government.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency