By Avery Wood
Current Affairs Editor
A vote will be held in eastern Ukraine to decide whether the region wants independence from Kiev, though Russian president Vladimir Putin wants to postpone it.
The ballot will ask “Do you support the act of proclamation of independent sovereignty for the Donetsk People’s Republic?” The government in Kiev has stated that the results will be ignored and that they will continue with “anti-terror operations,” according to The BBC.
The European Union warns that “such a vote could have no democratic legitimacy and would only further worsen the situation,” according to the BBC.
In an attempt to prevent further interference in Ukraine from Russia, United States officials have imposed sanctions on several individuals in Russia. Members of Congress have asserted that more sanctions must be imposed, since Putin continues his aggression against Ukraine.
According to USA Today, Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asserts that the US must be more “proactive” rather than “waiting patiently for the Europeans to join us,” and Rep. Eliot Engel of New Jersey believes that Ukrainians need America’s support and goes so far as to say “If we don’t step up to the plate on this we can almost kiss NATO goodbye,” USA Today reports.
According to USA Today, The Russian stock market has lost 25% of its value, but Putin has stated, “the cost is bearable.” The US is giving $255 million in aid and $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine.
Violence has recently escalated, with a conflict in Odessa resulting in the deaths of 46 people on May 2, and many experts and world leaders believe that the risk of a civil war in Ukraine is increasing. There are also fears that Russia could attempt to annex the pro-Russian part of Moldova, but there is no sign that it intends to do so, as of yet, according to CNN.
According to The New York Times, Putin has pledged to remove troops from Ukraine, but it is unclear whether he will do so or if this is another attempt to disguise his intentions. It is also reported that he wants to facilitate talks with the European Union and has even mentioned talks between the opposing sides of Ukraine.