The Washington Post: Separatists in eastern Ukraine are pressing ahead with their plan to hold a referendum on secession from Kiev, despite even the stated wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The move may signal a dangerous escalation of an already deadly conflict. On Thursday, Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, insisted at a news conference that there was a popular will for the vote.
“People want the referendum,” he said. “And it’s not just a few people; it’s millions of people who want the referendum, who need to give this vote for their ideals.”
But according to a new poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, a vast majority of those living in Ukraine — both in the restive east and more nationalist west — want the country’s borders to remain the same, despite the many political and social tensions that have come to the surface in recent months.
Only 18 percent of those surveyed in eastern Ukraine think the country’s regions should be allowed to secede — a statistic that serves as something of a rebuke to Pushilin and his fellow separatists. [Continue reading…]