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Ukraine’s Donetsk calls for referendum, votes to restore Russian’s official status

Published time: March 01, 2014 19:52
Pro-Russian protesters wave Russian flags and hold a banner reading "Donetsk region is with Russia" during a rally in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014 (AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

Pro-Russian protesters wave Russian flags and hold a banner reading "Donetsk region is with Russia" during a rally in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014 (AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

The City Council in the eastern city of Donetsk has refused to recognize Ukraine’s self-imposed government and called for a referendum on the region’s status. The council has made Russian alongside Ukrainian the official language in the region.


“Until all the legitimacy of the new laws approved by Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian Parliament] is clarified, the City Council [of Donetsk] will take full responsibility for its territories,” said the document approved by Donetsk City Council during the special session of March, 1. The report comes from Ukraine-based Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper.

Donetsk is the capital of the coal-rich Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Beside Donetsk, a major economic, industrial and scientific center, Donbass includes Lughansk and Dnepropetrovsk regions.

The Council called for a referendum on Donbass’s future, urging the local parliament to set the date immediately. The move is set to “protect the citizens from possible violent actions on the behalf of radicalized nationalistic forces,” the council said in a statement.

In addition, the members of the city council have voted to set up self-defense squads.

Russian language has been re-introduced as an official language along with Ukrainian in the area where a plurality of its residents are ethnic Russians (48.15%) and Russian-speaking Ukrainians (46.65%). This decision came after the new power in Kiev abolished the minority languages law.

Also, the Donetsk authorities said they consider Russia a strategic partner.

The council’s session was called as pro-Russian activists gathered in the center of Donetsk, demanding local authorities to hold a referendum on the future of the region. The protesters seized the regional administration building and hoisted the Russian flag above it.

Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are seeing massive pro-Russian demonstrations against the new self-proclaimed central government, with many government buildings being topped with Russian flags.

Comments (36)


Denis Viktorovich 23.03.2014 19:11

Chaz Scholton 08.03.2014 15:21

Yes...I'm trying to follow multiple news sources as best I can. I'm very glad that this man carrying the Ukrainian flag was not hurt. In fact, it's expressed to not hurt him. He was being called a traitor although. This made my own heart sink.


At this point, this flag represents Bandera-sympathizers in Kiev. After knowing what USA and UE did in Kiev - how can you blame others for being disgusted with this flag and what stands for?

Soon you will realize that those, who support "government&quo t; in Kiev ARE MINORITY in Ukraine.

Truth HURTS, doesn't it?


Denis Viktorovich 23.03.2014 19:07

The pendulum is gaining momentum swinging backwards and knock the Kiev's radicals out of the chess board. Ukrainian population is realizing that either they will be beaten to death by noxious minority or they shall rise. They made their choice. Good for them!

Propaganda in US is in full swing. Fox, CNN, MSNBC - the same ugly story demonizing Russia. Disgusting lies and deceit.


SIH 06.03.2014 07:50

Crimea is a Russian territory. Ukraine can cry as much as it wants but the fact is that Crimea is Russian. Kiev is afraid that Crimea will have a referendum, because Kiev knows the results already - Crimean people will say that they do not want to be a part of Ukraine :) I wonder what will the US do about that? Invade Crimea and force it to be in Ukraine? It is obvious that the US wants that Crimea for their own ships.

View all comments (36)
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