Pro-Russian separatists have claimed a decisive victory in a self-rule vote they held in two eastern Ukrainian regions amid reports of at least one person being killed by Ukrainian security forces.
Pro-Russian separatist leaders said more than 70 percent of the electorate in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions -- home to 6.5 million of Ukraine's total population of 46 million -- voted in the referendum, RFE/RL reports.
Roman Lyahin, the self-styled chief of the election commission of the "Donetsk People's Republic," said 89 percent had voted in favor.
However, there was no way to verify that claim, as no independent observers were monitoring the vote.
No results from Luhansk were announced.
Earlier, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called the referendums a "criminal farce".
Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchynov warned that the vote was a "step into the abyss." Turchynov said the government was willing to negotiate with representatives from the east, but not with anyone he called "terrorists whose task is the destruction of the country."