Slaviansk preps for referendum, but residents split on vote
Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 01:25
May 10 - Election officials are moving ahead with a scheduled referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk. Nathan Frandino reports.
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Election officials in Slaviansk are checking off names ahead of Sunday's controversial referendum.
Voting begins at 8 a.m. local time and there's no minimum turnout required.
The vote is to decide whether they support the self-rule of the People's Republic of Donetsk.
One official says there would likely be only one problem.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ELECTION OFFICIAL FROM SLAVIANSK, ANATOLY KHMELEVOY, SAYING:
"The main problem would be if we are attacked tomorrow. That would be the main problem. Otherwise now we already have ballots. Ballot boxes as you can see are being loaded in the trucks and we have places to hold the vote."
The ballots are on the way to 53 locations across Donetsk and Luhansk.
Residents of Slaviansk, which remains heavily guarded by pro-Russian rebels, are split about the vote.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) IVAN, PENSIONER FROM SLAVIANSK, SAYING:
"I am not going to take part in the referendum, I don't need it."
Opinion polls suggest most residents want to remain within Ukraine but with some level of autonomy.
Some residents want to join Russia.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SLAVIANSK RESIDENT LIDIA SAYING:
"Of course we will take part, it is the first thing we will do. We need this referendum and we will definitely go, it is a celebration for us."
The vote carries ramifications for the worst East-West standoff since the end of the Cold War.
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