Parubiy says anti-terrorist operation will continue as separatists in Luhansk, Donetsk reject Putin’s call to postpone referendum
by The Daily Lede
At a press conference on May 8, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy told journalists that Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation will continue in the country’s eastern regions.
Parubiy’s statement came minutes before separatist leaders in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts announced that they will hold a referendum on accession to the Russian Federation on May 11 as planned, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s May 7 call for the vote to be postponed.
In a phone call with Interfax Ukraine, Myroslav Rudenko, the co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic separatist government confirmed that “the referendum will be held on May 11.” Later, Luhansk self-defense leader Oleksiy Chmylenko, also speaking with Interfax Ukraine, said that Luhansk’s referendum “will not be postponed.”
Since April 6, when Kremlin-backed insurgents began seizing government buildings in Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk Oblasts, the Ukrainian government has been trying to quell separatist movements in Ukraine’s restive east.
Parubiy, who called the separatist referendums a “political adventure” conceived in “Putin’s maniacal imagination,” said that the anti-terrorist operation will continue “irrespective of the decisions of terrorist groups in eastern Ukraine.”