May 11 - Residents in eastern Ukraine head to the polls to vote in a controversial referendum on whether they'll leave Ukraine and attain self-rule. Nathan Frandino reports.
Polls are open in eastern Ukraine. Hundreds are lined up across the region to cast their vote in a controversial referendum. Will the region stay with Ukraine? Or will it take on self-rule as the Donetsk People's Republic? In Slaviansk, where armed pro-Russian rebels keep a heavy presence, one voter says she cannot support the government in Kiev. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SLAVIANSK RESIDENT SVETLANA SAYING: "Of course I'm going to vote so that we have a federal structure. I don't recognize these authorities. They are a junta and took power using bandit ways." Kiev considers the referendum illegal. But it hasn't stopped voters from participating. In Donetsk, some voters ultimately see their future like that of Crimea, which Russia annexed in March. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT TATIANA SAYING: "It will be a two-stage referendum. First we voted to be a federal republic. Further, we'll see. (REPORTER ASKING OFF CAMERA, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HAPPEN?') To become a part of Russia." Still, one voter in Luhansk is prepared to give the new Kiev authorities a chance. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UNIDENTIFIED LUHANSK VOTER SAYING: "I think we should not separate. We are one country. We've been together for more than 20 years." The referendum has raised fears in Kiev and the West of civil war and dismemberment. The results are expected to be announced in three days.