Region Weighs Next Step After Eastern Ukraine's Referendums

A Ukrainian woman casts her vote at a polling station in the Budennovskiy district, outskirts of Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, May 11, 2014.

Update May 12, 10:45 a.m. ET: The Donetsk People's Republic proclaimed itself a sovereign state this morning and then asked Moscow to consider letting it join Russia.Watch the video of the separatists appeal (it's not in English).

Russia says it respects the result of the referendums that were held in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, in which pro-Russian separatists declared a landslide victory, Reuters reports.

"In Moscow, we respect the will of the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and are counting on practical implementation of the outcome of the referendum in a civilized manner, without any repeat of violence and through dialogue," a Kremlin statement said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously asked the separatists delay their referendums — a request they ignored.
Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, however, has called the vote a "farce,"saying it is "nothing more than propaganda to cover up murders, kidnappings, violence and other serious crimes."
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called the referendums “illegal under Ukrainian law” and an “attempt to create further division and disorder.”
"The United States will not recognize the results of these illegal referenda," she said.

The Donetsk People's Republic declared itself a sovereign state on Monday and asked Moscow if it would consider letting the breakaway region become a part of Russia.
It's not yet clear if Luhansk will follow suit.
Denis Pushilin, a self-proclaimed leader of the region,reportedly has a map in his office that not-so-subtly hints at the next steps — at least according to the minds of the separatists.
On the map, Ukraine is split in two, with the word "Russia" written in black marker over the country's eastern half.

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