People cast ballots at a polling station during the referendum on the status of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in Moscow May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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Separatist rebels pressed ahead with a referendum on self-rule in east Ukraine on Sunday and fighting flared anew in a conflict that has raised fears of civil war and pitched Russia and the West into their worst crisis since the Cold War.For a vote on which so much hangs, the referendum in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which has declared itself a "People's Republic", seemed a decidedly ad hoc affair.Voting is due to end in the hastily arranged referendum in 53 locations at 10 p.m. (1900 GMT) and the rebels hope to have the ballots counted by Monday afternoon, although its outcome will not be widely recognised internationally or by Kiev.It is not at all clear what action rebel leaders will take once the results, expected one way or another to show a large "yes" vote, have been announced. Last week Ukrainian forces battled rebels for control of the city and between seven and 20 people were killed before the Kiev forces withdrew, but disorders have continued.
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