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Live Blog: Crisis In Ukraine (Archive)

Aleksandr Malykhin, chairman of Luhansk's separatist election commission, announces results of the referendum in the Luhansk region on May 12.

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-- Self-appointed leaders of the Ukrainian separatist region of Donetsk appealed to Russia to consider absorbing it to "restore historic justice" and to send in troops.

-- Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk said they would not allow voting for the May 25 presidential election to be conducted.

-- Diplomats say the European Union agreed to impose sanctions against 13 additional individuals and two companies, believed to be the first time the EU has targeted companies over the Ukraine crisis.

-- Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov called the votes a "sham" and the United States said they were illegal and merely "an attempt to create further division and disorder in the country."

-- RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service said one of its affiliate radio stations in Donetsk was taken off the air by gunmen and replaced by a pro-Russian broadcaster.

-- The Kremlin said Ukrainian officials in Kyiv should hold talks with pro-Russian separatists on the results of the self-rule referendums, adding that it respected the "expression of the people's will."

-- Insurgents in eastern Ukraine said nearly 90 percent of voters backed self-rule in the votes.

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv
19:16 12.5.2014
Meanwhile, according to our news desk, there seems to be more diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing in eastern Europe, this time in response to Dmitry Rogozin's controversial tweet a couple of days ago regarding Romania:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be traveling to NATO-member Romania next week to discuss the response to "Russia’s illegal military intervention," accepting an invite today from the country's President Traian Basescu.

The visit comes after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted on Saturday that the next time he would fly over Romania would be in a bomber. Romania asked for a clarification from Moscow on the remark.

Earlier today, Basescu said that he had invited both Biden and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Bucharest.

The White House said in a statement that Biden will "underscore the United States’ ironclad commitment to the collective defense of NATO under Article 5."

Basescu met CIA deputy director Avril Haines on May 12 in Bucharest, according to the Romanian president's office.

Biden will also visit Cyprus during the May 20-23 trip.
18:35 12.5.2014
18:07 12.5.2014
RFE/RL's multimedia department has issued this Reuters video of acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov slamming the referendums in the east of the country as a "farce" inspired by "leaders of the Russian Federation."
Acting President Blasts East Ukraine Referendums
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17:53 12.5.2014
Our news desk has just issued this on Donetsk's request to join Russia:
Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk have declared independence and asked Russia to consider absorbing the eastern Ukrainian region.

The appeal came in a statement read out today at a news conference by Denis Pushilin, a leading member of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic."

It came one day after Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region held so-called self-rule referendums.

Organizers claimed a high voter turnout and overwhelming support for independence in the May 11 votes.

No international monitors observed the votes.

Ukraine's government and Western nations have rejected the votes as illegal.

The Russian government said the results of the votes should be "implemented in a civilized manner" and urged Ukrainian officials in Kyiv to engage in talks with the separatists.

The European Union expanded its sanctions against individuals and companies because of their involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
17:47 12.5.2014
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17:28 12.5.2014
RFE/RL's Russian Service has been talking to Ukrainian journalist Sergei Lefter about his experiences as a captive held by pro-Russia militants for nearly three weeks in Slovyansk:
Lefter: It was a basement. Three rooms. We slept on the floor, of course. Those who were there for a long time were allowed to sleep on a makeshift bed that we made out of some doors and some warm clothes that they gave us. And they slept on that bed. That was the biggest room. All the others -- the new ones that were brought in -- sat on benches and slept sort of half sitting. At first, I also slept like that on some sort of crates -- half sitting, half lying down. It was cold, of course. It was a basement, after all. They didn't let us out to walk. There was a toilet outside, so when you asked to use the toilet, you got to go outside for a bit, walk around a little and get some air. Those who were there for a long time -- me and a few others -- also went out to clean up. They didn't force us to -- they just came up and said, "Give us a hand." It was a request, but we took it like an order. We went out, picked up some trash, cleared the yard. For 10 or 20 minutes, we got some fresh air and walked around. For us, it was sort of a privilege.

Read the full interview here.
16:40 12.5.2014
RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has just issued the following video of a funeral in Kyiv:

In Kyiv, mourners, including members of the ultranationalist Right Sector movement, attended the funeral of Rodion Dobrodomov, a Ukrainian National Guard volunteer killed during an operation against separatists in the southeastern city of Mariupol.
Ukrainians Bury Volunteer Killed In Mariupol
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15:39 12.5.2014
More reports suggesting fighting in eastern Ukraine is not bilateral, between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists:

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