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Ukrainian intel agency claims Russia meddling in southeastern Ukraine referendum

Ukraine's intelligence agency released an audio recording Wednesday that it says is evidence of Russian interference in the controversial referendum planned for May 11 to determine whether Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region remains a part of Ukraine or establishes itself as the "Donetsk People's Republic."
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   May 7, 2014 at 2:02 PM

KIEV, Ukraine, May 7 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) -- Ukraine's intelligence agency -- reported Wednesday that it has evidence of Russian interference in a controversial referendum planned for May 11 to determine whether Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region remains a part of Ukraine or establishes itself as the "Donetsk People's Republic."

The SBU released an audio recording on Wednesday of a taped conversation between Russian Unity movement leader Alexander Barkashov in Moscow and Dmytro Boitsov, the "unregistered" Orthodox Donbass organizaton leader in Donetsk. Boitsov is heard requesting Russian military support for the referendum and, in response, Barkashov suggests falsifying the referendum's results.

Amidst the allegations of Russian interference, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday, "We are asking representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and federalization supporters to reschedule the referendum scheduled for May 11."

Putin claimed that by postponing, southeastern Ukraine's regional representatives can "create necessary conditions for dialogue" with the central government in Kiev.

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