On May 11th, 2014, referendum for independency was held in the region of Donetsk. About 90 % of the voters had casted their ballots in favour of independency. According to Ukrainian government but also, according to international community such as EU and especially UK, this referendum was completely illegal. 

William Hague, Foreign Secretary to UK government expressed his stance that the whole process of referendum was ‘irregular and illegal’,  therefore; it cannot be taken seriously by the international community. In a meanwhile, Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergei Lavrov said that Russian government will respect the decision of referendum.

During the voting period, many incidents were reported such as threats from pro-Russian armed activist, forcing native Ukrainians to either vote in favour or, not to vote at all. There were also many technical issues such as, lack of polling stations, out of date voter lists, no proper checks on identity, multiple voting and even coercive methods during the plebiscite.

These independency issues in eastern Ukraine are just yet again one more example of tails of history which were never fully solved in the past. The territorial issue dates back from early 20’s when Lenin and the communist party was constructing the federal Ukrainian state within the USSR. 


Retrieved from Pakistan Defence, Blog about Discussion in ‘Strategic & Geopolitical Issues’


It seems that Ukrainian government feels powerless and helpless against the changes happening in the country, with the pro Russian forces, specifically with Donetsk. Although the Ukrainian government is weak against the constant attacks, allies from NATO like Japan, the United States and Canada have imposed sanctions and they have warned Russia that there could be more in the future. In another perspective, the Ukrainian military has stopped with the recruitment.

Putin, despite his petitions to delay the referendum, has admitted the result of Donetsk and has also declared to be ready for negotiations, in what Kiev’s Government defines as ‘an effort to create division and destabilization in the country’.  The illegality of the referendum lies at first in the national law of Ukraine, which does not recognize the proclamation of such an enquiry without the government’s approval. The government has condemned this fact in Donetsk and previous pro-Russian incidents to the International Community.President of Ukraine stated that, ‘I would like to call your attention to the political issue. That small group of terrorists will be treated according to the law, but millions of Ukrainians, they’re really seeking changes’.



Retrieved from BBC News Europe,Separatists, including the self-proclaimed co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin (C), want greater autonomy from Kiev


The success of the ‘Euromaiden,’ the movement in Kiev, unsettled Moscow, perhaps fearing the loss of another former ally to eastward European and NATO expansion.  David Clark of the ‘Russian Foundation’ said that, lacking natural barriers such as mountain ranges along its western borders, the country’s leaders have been preoccupied with ‘the maintenance of a sphere of influence over the countries around it as a source of security’.  Perhaps Russian activities in Eastern Ukraine are evidence that Putin is attempting to build a more reliable pro-Russian state between itself and the new, increasingly pro-Western regime in Kiev. 

On the Ukrainian side, the increasingly vocal rhetoric of the interim Kiev government suggests that it will be some time before a normalisation of Kiev-Moscow relations can take place.  The decision of Russia to double the amount Kiev must pay for the import of Russian gas, and Putin’s demands that Ukraine pay in advance for all gas imports from 1st June can only signal a further deterioration in relations between Russia and Western Ukraine. 

Although Russia is trying to open dialogues with the EU, the sanctions implemented will increase if, as it said, it accepts the Referendum results and the annexing of Donetsk, leaving Ukraine in a weaker position politically, geographically and economically.



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