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Donetsk leader: new entity to be formed after referendum in Ukraine’s southeast

"But this new entity is only the first step to our forming a bigger entity of Novorossia, the former southeastern Ukraine", Pavel Gubarev said

MOSCOW, May 11 /ITAR-TASS/. A new constituent entity will be formed in Ukraine after the referendums in its eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions, people’s governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region Pavel Gubarev, who has been recently released from prison in Kiev, told the Russia 24 television channel.

“Referendum is everything for us,” he said. “It is our independence, it is formation of a new entity - the Donetsk People’s Republic. But this new entity is only the first step to our forming a bigger entity of Novorossia [Novorussia is a historical term referring to territory conquered by the Russian Empire in the 1700s and made part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union, in 1922], the former southeastern Ukraine.”

Gubarev took part in Sunday’s voting and noted a highest turnout. “There have never been such high turnouts at any previous polling,” he said.

He also told about the conditions he had been kept in prison since early March. He said physical and moral pressure had been exerted on him at prison. “I don’t seek a martyr halo, I am a soldier after all. And I look upon what happened there as a part of my fight. People fought here, I fought there. I had no contacts with investigators, I gave no evidence and this was the core of the conflict,” he said. “They put a red mark on my dossier - ‘prone to escape…’ I slept on a plank bed with no mattress.”

The leader of Ukraine Southeast, Pavel Gubarev, was released from prison on May 7. The Donetsk region’s self-defence guards swapped him for three detained officers of the Ukrainian Security Service. Gubarev was proclaimed people’s governor of Donetsk at a rally in the city’s central square on March 1. Shorty after, Ukraine’s Security Service opened a criminal case against him and he was arrested on March 6.

On Sunday, federalization supporters in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions are holding referendums after their regions proclaimed the establishment of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in April. The voting proceeds in conditions of ongoing punitive operation of the Kiev authorities in Ukraine’s eastern areas.