March 21, 2014
As Ukraine appears to have all but conceded Crimea to Moscow, Ukranians in Kherson, the province just north of the peninsula, are believed to be pushing a secession vote of their own in what a local leader angrily denounced as “treason.”
The province has a huge Russian speaking population, and a vote – particularly with politicking from Russia – could go against Kiev as did last Sunday’s referendum in Crimea. In addition to a major push from ethnic Russian politicians, the proposal in Kherson could be boosted by the presence of Russian soldiers, pro-Moscow protesters and the kind of propaganda Ukraine accused Moscow of engaging in before the Crimea vote.
“We will not allow the country to be broken up further,” Mykola Mikolayenko, mayor of the province’s similarly named capital city, told a packed city council meeting Friday, where a referendum had been expected to be introduced. “If [pro-Russia] city council members want Kherson to join Russia, they better think again. It won’t be tolerated. This is treason.”