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Armed pro-Russia militia men line-up outside a polling booth before voting at a polling station during a referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk May 11.
Armed pro-Russia militia men line-up outside a polling booth before voting at a polling station during a referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk May 11.
(YANNIS BEHRAKIS/REUTERS)

MARK MacKINNON

Why Donetsk isn’t Crimea

There are many familiar elements to the “Donetsk People’s Republic” on the day of its referendum on independence from Ukraine. As with Crimea before its own secession and annexation by Russia two months ago, there are checkpoints on the streets, and the ballot boxes are escorted by masked men with guns and an unclear agenda.