Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ukrainian Separatists Will Hold Own Vote

Denys Pushylin, the head and the spokesman of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic", speaks during his press conference in Moscow on April 30.
A leader of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic" says the eastern Ukrainian region will not take part in the presidential election scheduled next month.

Denys Pushylin was speaking on April 30 on a visit to Moscow on an apparent mission to seek support.

Donetsk is one of a string of eastern Ukrainian cities where pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings.

Pushylin confirmed the "Donetsk Republic" plans to hold a referendum on possible secession from Ukraine on May 11, and said it will hold its own leadership vote after that.

Ukraine's presidential election is scheduled to take place on May 25.

Pushylin also told reporters the separatists had enough people and weapons to defend their interests.

He said that Russian officers were operating in the east of Ukraine but did not provide details.

Yanukovych 'Stole $100 Billion'

In other news, Ukraine's acting prosecutor-general, Oleh Makhnitskyy, has accused former President Viktor Yanukovych of stealing some $100 billion from the country.

Makhnitskyy said on April 30 that a check of financial records from Yanukovych's time in office showed close to $100 billion is missing.

"Our operational information says that the amount of cash taken out to Russia amounts to almost $32 billion," he said, adding that at least part of the remaining $68 billion is somewhere in European banks.

Makhnitskyy conceded part of the missing money was used to "hire thugs" to clamp down on Maidan protests.

Makhnitskyy portrayed Yanukovych as the leader of a mafia structure that extended into the Ukrainian government, law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor's office, and the courts.

Yanukovych fled Ukraine in late February amid antigovernment protests in Kyiv. He was last known to be in Russia.
Based on reporting by AFP, ITAR-TASS, UNIAN, and Reuters