MOSCOW, May 12, 23:03 /ITAR-TASS/. The referenda held in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions on May 11 will set an inspiring example for other Ukrainian regions where people do not want to put up with the violence that has swept the country, Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy speaker of the State Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) said on Monday, May 12.
“I admire the courage of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions who, despite the rabid opposition to the democratic procedure of referendum from the fascist junta, which seized power in Kiev with the force of arms, and the beastly cruelty of the punitive operation against the people of the South-East of Ukraine, could organise and conduct the voting on their future,” the MP said on his Facebook page.
In his opinion, “the high turnout and the clear choice in favour of self-determination, as evidenced by the results of the referendum, will make both Kiev and the international community reckon with this position no matter how much they would like not to notice it”.
“The fact of the referendum and its outcome will become an important inspiring example for other regions of Ukraine where people do not want to put up with the ongoing violence and the flouting of their legitimate freedoms and rights and a tangible argument for further bilateral and foreign policy efforts of the Russian Federation aimed at restoring peace and security in long-suffering Novorossiya [New Russia] and the rest of Ukraine,” Zheleznyak said.
Irina Yarovaya, chair of the Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee, said the referendum in the South-East of Ukraine was “a referendum of people’s liberation”.
“This is basically a referendum of people’s liberation from Kiev’s castigators. Against the nastiness, weapons and killings in Donbass there stood the wisdom and the constructive will of the people,” she said.
Deputy Duma Speaker Sergei Neverov said the referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions were a reaction of their people to the Kiev authorities and stressed the need to wait to the final results. He said that “the people defended their right to a referendum” in which the residents of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and other towns in the Donbass area showed solidarity and “desire to wish separately from the Kiev junta in a free, peaceful and independent republic”.
“I would like to say to representatives of Europe and the United States that they should at last open their eyes to what is happening in Ukraine,” Neverov said.
“A punitive operation and mass killings of peaceful people” are taking place in the South-East of Ukraine under the guise of counter-terrorism operations, he said, adding, “The referendum reflects the position of self-determination and a reply to the Kiev junta.”
In his opinion, the referendum is a result of Kiev’s policy. “The junta that has seized power has unleashed a real punitive operation against peaceful people, using not only firearms but also armoured combat vehicles, aviation, artillery and mortars,” he said.
A Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov said his party would support the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
“The position of our party and faction is that if the authorities to be created in these republics make appeals, we will recommend supporting and recognising their independence,” he said.
“The will of the people is above all,” Mironov said, commenting on the results of the referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on May 11. “This is the leitmotif and imperative for these two Ukrainian regions. No one can call into question the fact that the people in these two international entities expressed themselves very clearly,” he said.
He believes that Donetsk and Lugansk “will form new bodies of power and re-subordinate all law enforcement agencies. We should clearly understand that if the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev voted in by the Maidan consider themselves legitimate and entitled to issue criminal orders authorising the use of the army against their own people, such a strong referendum gives rise to the status of state entity and ability to conduct negotiations at any level,” he said.
“The quicker Kiev comes to its senses and begins negotiations with the people’s representatives of these two regions, the better for everyone,” Mironov said.
He said the Duma would respond to the referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in an appeal to the parliaments of the world on the situation in Ukraine it is planning to debate on May 13.
On his suggestion, the document will be amended to include a provision urging the international community to take into account the position of the South-East of Ukraine.
“We have agreed a text which says that ‘the constitutional process in Ukraine should be comprehensive, transparent and responsible, it should include an immediate commencement of broad national dialogue that would take into account the interests of people in all regions and all ethnic groups, all political and public forces in Ukraine in light of the May 11 referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions’,” Mironov said.
Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov of the Communist Party said the results of the referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions allowed their self-defence forces to speak on behalf of the people.
“To a large extent the referendum in spirit reflects its original meaning even more so than those conducted by the government as it originates at the grassroots level,” he said.
The plebiscites give the self-defence forces a totally new status. “This is no longer the voice of self-defence. Now they can act on behalf of the people and in their name,” Melnikov said. “If the number of people supporting the proposed question is around 90%, this is an important political factor that cannot be ignored,” he said.
“The highest degree of people’s mobilisation surprised not only the supporters of federalisation in Ukraine and outside it but also many Western journalists, skeptics and ill-wishers who recognised, directly or indirectly, the democratic nature of the procedure,” Melinkov said.
“Whether the referendum will be recognised juridically now or later doesn’t really matter so much,” he said, adding that the referenda “sent an important ‘signal flare’ into the Ukrainian sky for the struggle of the whole South-East”.
The decision on the recognition of independence proclaimed by Ukraine’s south-eastern regions will be made by the U.N. member states, not by the U.N. Secretary-General, his spokesperson said on Monday.
He said the U.N. had watched the voting in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine but had so far not received any requests for considering the issue of their independence.
In the May 11 referenda held in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, 89.7 and 96.2% of those who voted, respectively, did so in favour of their independence.
The Lugansk region authorities said later that they were preparing an appeal to the United Nations for the recognition of their independence from Kiev.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has already requested incorporation into Russia.
“We the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic, based on the results of the referendum of May 11, 2014, and the declaration of independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic, hereby declare that from now on the Donetsk People’s Republic is a sovereign state,” the republic’s co-leader Denis Pushilin said.
“Considering the will of the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic and in order to restore historical justice, we are asking the Russian Federation to consider incorporating the Donetsk People’s Republic into the Russian Federation,” he said.
The neighbouring Lugansk region also declared independence after the May 11 referendum.
“We have chosen our path of independence from the lawlessness and bloody dictatorship of the Kiev junta, fascism and nationalism, the path of freedom and rule of law,” Lugansk people’s governor Valery Bolotov said. “A new life free of diktat from the Kiev authorities is beginning for the Lugansk People’s Republic upon the declaration of independence.