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You're reading: Polling stations open for secession referendum in eastern Ukraine

The snap vote, hastily organized by Moscow-backed separatists, asks just one question: “Do you support the act of state sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic?” “Yes” or “No” are the only options the ballot offers.

One man explained his no vote in Donetsk this way. “Look at Crimea. It’s chaos,” he said. “This is the future of Donbas if this referendum passes.”

There will be no international observers present at any of the more than 1,400 polling stations in Luhansk Oblast or 1,500 in Donetsk Oblast, according to the separatists’ head election official Roman Liahin, a 33-year-old former Party of Regions advisor. But he encouraged “anyone who wants to observe the referendum can do so.”

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