DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern Ukraine have declared independence and are seeking to join Russia following yesterday's referendums.
Organizers of yesterday's referendums say 89 percent of those who cast ballots in the Donetsk region and about 96 percent of those who turned out in Luhansk voted for sovereignty.
But Russia is signaling it has no intention of annexing eastern Ukraine the way it did Crimea in March. The Kremlin says it wants to see talks between Ukraine's interim government and those provinces.
Ukraine's acting president has called the votes a "farce," but the acting prime minister is pledging to hold a dialogue with all of the country's regions on the country's constitution. Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') says the agenda should include changes to the constitution that would give more powers to the regions.
The United States is refusing to recognize the results of the referendums. White House spokesman Jay Carney says it's "disappointing" that Russia did not use its influence to stop the vote from happening.
193-w-35-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with Jay Carney, White House press secretary)--The White House is rejecting the outcome of last weekend's independence votes in eastern Ukraine. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (12 May 2014)
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194-a-09-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"division and disorder"-White House press secretary Jay Carney says the U.S. isn't recognizing the outcome of last weekend's separatist votes in eastern Ukraine. (12 May 2014)
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195-a-13-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"recognize the results"-White House press secretary Jay Carney says not only were the votes illegal, they were rife with irregularities. (12 May 2014)
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196-a-15-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"station in Moscow"-White House press secretary Jay Carney says it's "disappointing" Russia didn't use its influence to prevent the votes. (12 May 2014)
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APPHOTO XEL103: A Ukrainian officer salutes to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, centre, and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, during a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, pool) (12 May 2014)
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APPHOTO XDMV105: Pro-Russian gunmen atop armored personal carrier pass through the center of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, May 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday and sought to join Russia, undermining upcoming presidential elections, strengthening the Kremlin's hand and putting pressure on Kiev to hold talks with the separatists. Russia signaled it has no intention of subsuming eastern Ukraine the way it annexed Crimea in March. Instead, Moscow is pushing to include eastern regions in negotiations on Ukraine's future — suggesting that Russia prefers a political, not military, solution to its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (12 May 2014)
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APPHOTO XAZ118: Pro-Russian gunmen and activists react while listening to a speaker as they declare independence for the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine on Monday, May 12, 2014. Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions following their contentious referendum ballot. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (12 May 2014)
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