Leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk on 12 May 2014 declared Donetsk and Luhansk region in the Eastern Ukraine as sovereign and independent State.
The declaration was made after the referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk which was held on 11 May 2014. The result of the referendum in Donestk and Luhansk region showed that 89 percent and 96.2 percent people in the region respectively supported independence from Ukraine.
The self-proclaimed head of the People's Republic of Donetsk Denis Pushilin in eastern Ukraine has declared the region a sovereign state and asked Russia to consider allowing it to accede.
Aleksandr Malykhin, head of Luhansk election commission asked Russia to accept integration of Luhansk into the Russian Federation.
Both the region now plans to ask the United Nations to recognize its independence. It was also announced that both the region will not participate in Ukraine’s presidential election, which is expected to be held on 25 May 2014.
Russia annexed Ukraine's southern autonomous republic of Crimea after a disputed referendum in March 2014 and Ukraine now fears that Russia may repeat the same in Donetsk, Luhansk and parts of southern Ukraine.
However, Russia signalled that it had no intention of annexing eastern Ukraine the way it annexed Crimea in March.
Instead, Moscow wants to include eastern regions in negotiations on Ukraine's future. In other words, Russia is indicating that it prefers a political, not military, solution to its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War.
Negotiations on Ukraine’s future are central to a potential path towards peace outlined on 12 May 2014 by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The plan laid out by Swiss President Didier Burkhalter calls on all sides to refrain from violence and urges immediate amnesty, talks on decentralisation and the status of the Russian language.
Donestk is an industrial city in Eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius River. Administratively, it is a centre of Donetsk Oblast.
Donetsk is a major economic, industrial and scientific centre of Ukraine with a high concentration of companies and a skilled workforce.
According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, Donetsk is the fifth-largest city in Ukraine.
Luhansk is the administrative center in the easternmost Ukraine. The city itself is also designated as its own separate municipality within the oblast. The current estimated population is around 425848.
Where: Eastern Ukraine
When: 12 May 2014