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Russian observers forced to give up Donetsk Region referendum monitoring plans

Information was received that the group will be detained at a border checkpoint

MOSCOW, May 11 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian observers have been forced to abandon the plans to send a mission to the Donetsk Region in east Ukraine to monitor the referendum on independence there, a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, Georgy Fyodorov, said Sunday.

“Our mission to monitor the referendum in the Donetsk Region has ended without having started. Information was received that our group will be detained at a border checkpoint, and we were forced to give up the trip,” Fyodorov told Itar-Tass.

He added that his aides are in the Donetsk Region. “Monitoring will be carried out remotely,” he said.

Federalization supporters in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions will hold referendums on self-determination on Sunday after the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic were proclaimed in April.

The vote will take place in conditions of a continuing special operation by the Kiev authorities in Ukraine’s east apparently designed to crack down on pro-federalization activists.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were propelled to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of Crimea, which joined Russia on March 18 after a referendum. Southeastern Ukrainian protesters, who demand broader powers for their regions, have taken control of some government buildings.