Separatists in two eastern Ukrainian regions said they will go forward with a weekend referendum seeking more independence from Kiev, despite calls, even from Russian President Vladimir Putin, to delay the vote.
Denis Pushilin, who heads the so-called Donetsk People's Republic election commission, said that though Putin's objections "came from a person who indeed cares for the people of the southeast," the Donetsk leadership would ignore his request because "we are the bullhorn of the people."
This last claim is questionable at best, as demonstrated by a Pew poll published today that shows that most Ukrainians (not including Crimeans) are in favor of a unified country. Per the poll, 77 percent of Ukrainians want the country to remain united, including 93 percent of those residing in the west and a surprisingly-high 70 percent of those residing in the east. That figure drops slightly when looking at eastern Russian speakers — but still remains a majority, with 58 percent preferring a united country.