SLAVIANSK, May 12 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian army has begun an artillery bombardment of the eastern city of Slaviansk following a referendum in the region on Sunday, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Monday morning.
Artillery shells were heard exploding near a roadblock on the outskirts of Slaviansk. The city was under artillery fire during the night as well, the correspondent said.
Kiev’s current authorities are continuing a military operation in southeastern Ukraine in response to referendums on the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that were held Sunday with nearly 90 percent turnout.
The vote was organized by Ukrainian federalization supporters, who have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and have called for greater autonomy, following a change of power in Ukraine in late February.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned the country’s authorities for using arms against its own people, calling it a punitive operation. The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged Kiev to stop the violence and establish a nationwide dialog.