Will it mean the breakup of Ukraine? Or finally a fierce response from the West and the central government in Kyiv? Will Donetsk and Luhansk become stand-alone states within Ukraine or be absorbed into Vladimir Putin’s growing empire, just as the Russian president took Crimea in March?
On the morning after the hasty referendums on May 11, no one seemed to know the fate of the two oblasts that collectively make up 15 percent of Ukraine’s population.
Separatist election officials reported 89 percent for seceding and 10 percent against doing so in Donetsk Oblast. In Luhansk Oblast, Oleksandr Malykhin, a separatist referendum official, reported that 96 percent of voters “supported federalization of the Luhansk region,” adding that more precise data would be released by noon on May 12, the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.