Ukraine's Donetsk vote overwhelmingly in favor of independence
The breakaway group in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region says 89.07 percent of voters backed independence in its referendum Sunday.
The turnout for the referendum was 74.87 percent, and 10.1 percent voted against independence, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's electoral commission, Roman Lyagin, said late Sunday.
"These can be considered as the final results," Lyagin said.
A woman voting in the center of Donetsk city said she was happy to see the referendum was going smoothly.
"I came here to vote in a pleasant mood and with confidence," she said.
Donetsk was one of two regions holding referenda on independence from Ukraine. The results from the other region, Lugansk, where polls closed slightly later, have not been announced yet.
People were asked on the ballot papers: "Do you support the act of state-rule of the Donetsk (Lugansk) People's Republic?"
About 3 million ballots were distributed in towns and cities in the two regions, which have a total population of 6.6 million.
Russia said Monday it respects the choice of people in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine, while hoping implementation of the referendum results to be processed along civilized lines.
"We have taken note of high voter turnout despite attempts to derail the voting and we condemn the force used, including military hardware, against civilians, which lead to fatalities," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
Moscow called for dialogue between Kiev authorities and those two regions, saying "all mediation efforts, including by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, are welcome."