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In Ukraine, sovereignty referendums turn violent

Sunday's independence votes were touted as providing a mandate for some of Ukraine's eastern regions to declare independence from the fragile government in Kiev, but reaction from world leaders ranged from scornful to cynical to dismissive.

The Globe's Mark MacKinnon reported that at least one pro-Russian demonstrator was killed Sunday in the city of Krasnoarmeysk, northwest of the city of Donetsk, when members of the National Guard seized control of City Hall in an apparent attempt to prevent the referendum from taking place there.

No one knows yet what the separate declarations of independence by Donetsk and Lugansk will mean. A selection of images from Sunday shows an atmosphere that was light-hearted in some areas, but lethal in others.

Baz Ratner/Reuters

Voting while the dog waits

A dog waits for a woman to complete a form for the referendum on the status of Donetsk region at a polling station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, May 11, 2014.
Evgeniy Maloletka / AP

Counting the ballots

Members of election committee count ballots after voting closed at a polling station in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, May 11, 2014. Voters in two insurgent Ukrainian regions cast ballots Sunday on whether to declare their areas sovereign republics, a move denounced by the central government and likely to deepen the turmoil in the largely Russian-speaking east.
Manu Brabo / AP

A confrontation turns violent

Residents tend to a man wounded outside a town hall in Krasnoarmeisk, about thirty miles from the regional centre of Donetsk, when a confrontation with Ukrainian national guard troops erupted in gunfire on Sunday. A spokesman for regional insurgents said there were fatalities. 
Manu Brabo / AP

Aftermath of a shooting

People react after Ukrainian national guardsmen opened fire on a crowd outside a town hall in Krasnoarmeisk, about 30 kilometers from the regional capital, Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, May 11, 2014. Although the voting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions appeared mostly peaceful, Ukrainian national guardsmen opened fire on a crowd outside a town hall in Krasnoarmeisk, and an official with the region’s insurgents said there were fatalities. 
Sergey Ponomarev / NYT

From the battle lines to the poLling station

Pro-Russia rebel fighters receive their ballots at a polling station in Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 11, 2014. Snap referendums conducted by secessionists in eastern Ukraine in hopes of legitimizing their cause drew large crowds on Sunday, and unfolded in a carnival-like atmosphere that was celebratory in some places and lethally violent in others. 

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