Donetsk, Luhansk Ask to Join Russia
Insurgent leader says region is declaring independence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2014 10:17 AM CDT
Updated May 12, 2014 11:47 AM CDT
Insurgent leader Denis Pushilin at a news conference in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, May 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – Pro-Russia insurgents in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions are declaring themselves independent and asking to join Russia. The move, initiated by Donetsk and followed closely by Luhansk, follows a hastily organized referendum yesterday in which organizers say about 90% of those who cast ballots in the regions backed sovereignty for the sprawling areas that form Ukraine's industrial heartland. There was no immediate response from the Kremlin to today's statement issued by insurgent leader Denish Pushilin, but the Guardian notes that Moscow earlier said it respects "the will of the people." For more on what little is clear at this point, click here.