Donbass republic estimates timing of referendum results
The outcome of a referendum on whether people in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) want to join Russia may be known by the end of today, its top election official has said.
Yelena Kravchenko announced the target deadline this morning, after the LPR opened polling stations on the last day of the five-day-long plebiscite. Organizers of the ballot kept the stations shut during the four previous days due to fear of attacks by Ukraine, instead sending polling officials to canvas residential areas door-to-door.
The last day of voting will continue until 4pm local time (1pm GMT), after which counting will begin. Kravchenko said this will likely give election officials enough time to have the results ready later in the day.
The head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, who cast his vote in front of cameras on Tuesday morning, offered a more conservative prediction that only preliminary results would be ready this evening. Pasechnik said he was voting for joining Russia and, by extension, “for the bright and happy future of our children and grandchildren.”
The LPR is one of four places where referendums on joining Russia are being held. As of Monday evening, the turnout there was reported to be 83.61%, behind the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), where the turnout was 86.89%. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, large portions of which are under the control of Russian troops, reported turnouts of 63.58% and 66.43%, respectively.
Kiev has dismissed the polls as a “sham,” while its foreign backers have threatened to impose further economic sanctions against Russia over the referendums.