New Ukraine province in play as ethnic Russians push new secession referendum

KHERSON, UKRAINE –  As Ukraine appears to have all but conceded Crimea to Moscow, Ukranians in Kherson, the province just north of the peninsula, are believed to be pushing a secession vote of their own in what a local leader angrily denounced as “treason.”

The province has a huge Russian speaking population, and a vote – particularly with politicking from Russia – could go against Kiev as did last Sunday’s referendum in Crimea. In addition to a major push from ethnic Russian politicians, the proposal in Kherson could be boosted by the presence of Russian soldiers, pro-Moscow protesters and the kind of propaganda Ukraine accused Moscow of engaging in before the Crimea vote.

“We will not allow the country to be broken up further,” Mykola Mikolayenko, mayor of the province’s similarly named capital city, told a packed city council meeting Friday, where a referendum had been expected to be introduced. “If [pro-Russia] city council members want Kherson to join Russia, they better think again. It won’t be tolerated. This is treason.”

A day earlier, Mikolayenko had told reporters of a mysterious phone caller who said members of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s party were planning to pass a motion during to hold a Crimea-style referendum. Although no such motion was introduced, Mikolayenko and other Ukrainian officials in the province as well as Kiev believe the effort is a maneuver coordinated by Russia to make it appear as though a groundswell of support for secession exists.


Fox News has the full article

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