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Voting closing in eastern Ukraine

Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 01:39

May 11 - Election offices are closing in eastern Ukraine, where residents are voting on whether they want self-rule away from Kiev. Nathan Frandino reports.

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As the last remaining voters turn in ballots, polls are starting to close in Ukraine. In Slaviansk, officials have locked the doors and started counting. This referendum on self-rule has raised fears of civil war. Separatists hope to have the ballots counted by Monday afternoon, although the outcome will not be widely recognized internationally. Earlier in the day, an official in Luhansk said turnout was high. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LUHANSK REFERENDUM ELECTION COMMISSION CHAIR, NATALIA VOROBYOVA, SAYING: "The voting is going really well. People are coming to us like it's a holiday. Today for Luhansk residents in general it's a holiday. The referendum is a big holiday in our city. Not only in our city, but in the whole of Donbass, where the referendum is being held. The turnout is really big." The day was not without its challenges. One election official said Ukrainian forces blocked workers on the road. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LUHANSK REFERENDUM ELECTION COMMISSION PRESS SECRETARY, VASILY NIKITIN, SAYING: "I would like to officially announce that today in three regions - even in four - our commissions weren't able to operate. The cars with ballots and protocols were blocked by the troops, by the National Guard. Armored personnel carriers and armored vehicles stopped our cars, which they blocked so they couldn't go anywhere." Kiev has called the referendum a criminal farce with its ballot papers "soaked in blood." One way or another, observers say it is likely to show a large "yes" vote for self-rule.

Voting closing in eastern Ukraine

Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 01:39

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