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Ukrainian Intel Agency Claims Russia Meddling In Southeastern Ukraine Referendum

KIEV, Ukraine (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.

Amid 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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