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Donetsk declares a breakaway republic

By Kim Sengupta

The world's newest country was born yesterday, but its leaders indicated it will have a short life. The People's Republic of Donetsk made its unilateral declaration of independence from Ukraine, then asked to be ruled by Russia.

There was no response from Moscow for Donetsk to be "absorbed" by Russia.

The referendum organisers would not give numbers of votes cast but said 89.7% voted to leave Ukraine, 10.19% to stay and 0.74 spoiled their ballot papers – a total participation of 100.63%.

The Obama administration said the United States would not recognise the result. Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "The votes in the Eurovision Song Contest are more credible and carry greater weight than the circumstances in Donetsk and Luhansk."

A statement was issued by Moscow saying it expected the results of the vote to be implemented in a "civilised manner".

The high command in Donetsk and Luhansk regions said the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25 would not take place there.

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