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KIEV, April 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has blocked access to the list of registered voters in several districts of the country’s Donetsk Region in a bid to prevent a referendum on the federal status of the eastern region, a spokeswoman for the SBU said on Wednesday.
“The Security Service jointly with the Central Election Commission thwarted attempts to get access to data bases of the state register of voters,” Yekaterina Kosareva said adding that attempts were made with the aim of holding a referendum on the Donetsk Region’s status.
She said the administrations of the Sloviansk, Yenakiyevo, Snezhnoe, Amvrosievka and Kramatorsk districts of the Donetsk Region were prohibited access to the state register of voters.
The same move was made by the authorities in Kiev last month during Crimea’s referendum on the secession from Ukraine. The Ukrainian Election Commission then also blocked the region from accessing the state register of voters, but this time the analogues move was initiated by the SBU.
Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission also blocked a server where the lists of voters were placed but the organizers of the Crimean plebiscite had obtained all the necessary list prior to that. The lists had been use to hold elections 2012 and voting in the referendum was done on their basis.
Residents of the predominantly Russian-speaking south-eastern region of Ukraine, including the Donetsk Region, disagreed with the course of the policy of the new authorities in Kiev and went on protests demanding referendums on the federal status of their regions. Demonstrators in the Donetsk Region plan their referendum for May 11.
Besides the currently planned referendum in the Donetsk Region, the country attempted seven referendums in total since 1991. Referendums concerned various issues including on the territorial status, on the Russian language, on the Constitution and the country’s accession to NATO. Voting in five of the referendums (in 1992, 1995, 1998 and two in 2006) was banned either by the Ukrainian Parliament or by the Central Election Commission. The voting in 1991 referendum on the restoration of the Crimean Autonomy within the Soviet Union took place, but its results were later recognized as invalid. The most recent referendum, held on March 16, 2014 on Crimea’s sovereign status, was the only successful in Ukraine’s present-day history.After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, which Kiev does not accept despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum was in conformity with the international law, protests against the new Ukrainian leaders have erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking south-eastern regions, with demonstrators, who are demanding a referendum on the country’s federalization, seizing some government buildings.
Ukrainian parliament-appointed acting president, Verkhovna Rada speaker Oleksandr Turchynov announced the start of the antiterrorism operation in the Donetsk Region, apparently designed to clamp down on federalization supporters, on April 15.