Europe

Ukraine east referendums have zero credibility: UK

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned the independence referendums held in eastern Ukraine, claiming that they lack credibility.

“These votes, these attempts at referendums have zero credibility in the eyes of the world. They are illegal by anybody’s standards,” Hague said upon his arrival at an EU foreign ministers meeting in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, on Monday.

He also alleged that pro-Russia activists failed to meet standards such as “transparency” and “fairness” in the votes.

The remarks by the top British diplomat came after Pro-Russia protesters in Ukraine’s two eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk announced victory in Sunday’s referendums on declaring sovereignty.

Final results in Lugansk show that 96.2 percent of voters supported independence from the central government in Kiev.

Meanwhile, pro-Moscow activists say nearly 90 percent of the voters in Donetsk Province have voted in favor of independence from Ukraine.

The Kremlin said it respects “the will of the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions,” calling for the implementation of the results without violence.

The two eastern regions, which are home to about 7.3 million of the 46-million population of Ukraine, have seen deadly clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russians in recent weeks.

According to reports, over 100 people have been killed over the past week in the intensified Kiev crackdown on the flashpoint city of Slavyansk as well as Odessa and Mariupol.

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