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June 24, 2017

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Insurgents say Ukraine region opts for sovereignty

DONETSK, Ukraine — The organizers of controversial referendums in two industrial regions in eastern Ukraine say about 90 percent of voters have backed their calls for sovereignty.

According to early returns Monday, 89 percent of those who cast ballots Sunday in the Donetsk region and between 94 and 98 percent of those who turned out in the neighboring Luhansk region voted for sovereignty.

The pro-Russian insurgents who organized the vote said the ultimate status of the regions would be discussed later and could include the possibility of secession or annexation by Russia.

Ukraine's central government and the West have condemned the balloting as a sham and a violation of international law, and accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest in a possible attempt to grab more land weeks after the annexation of Crimea.

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