A woman checks the documents of a Ukrainian before issuing him a ballot paper in Moscow.
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Pro-Moscow rebels expressed confidence that eastern Ukraine had chosen self-rule in a referendum Sunday, with some saying that meant independence and others eventual union with Russia, as fighting flared in a conflict increasingly out of control.Rebels in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine claimed that 89 percent of voters had cast ballots in favor of independence in the referendum, with 10 percent against. Before polls closed, one separatist leader said the region would form its own state bodies and military after the referendum, formalizing a split that began with the armed takeover of state buildings in a dozen eastern towns last month.Another said the vote would not change the region's status, but simply show that the east wanted to decide its own fate, whether in Ukraine, on its own or as part of Russia. On the eastern outskirts, a little over an hour after polls opened, soldiers from Kiev seized what they said were falsified ballot papers, marked with Yes votes, and detained two men.Ballot papers in the referendum in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which has declared itself a "People's Republic," were printed without security provision, voter registration was patchy and there was confusion over what the vote was for.
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