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Kremlin backs referendum in eastern Ukraine

Russia said Monday it respects the choice of people in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine, while hoping implementation of the referendum results to be processed along civilized lines.

"We have taken note of high voter turnout despite attempts to derail the voting and we condemn the force used, including military hardware, against civilians, which lead to fatalities," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Moscow called for dialogue between Kiev authorities and those two regions, saying "all mediation efforts, including by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, are welcome,"

Local residents in Donetsk and Lugansk went to the polls on Sunday in referendums aimed at seeking independence from Ukraine.

The final results were yet to be announced.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 12May14]

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