Connect with us

World

Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine vote on self-rule

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine vote on self-rule | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine vote on self-rule
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Pro-Moscow rebels declared a resounding victory in a referendum on self-rule for eastern Ukraine, with some saying that meant independence and others eventual union with Russia as fighting flared in a conflict increasingly out of control.

Organisers in the main region holding the makeshift vote on Sunday said nearly 90 percent had voted in favour.

Well before polls closed, one separatist leader said the region would form its own state bodies and military after the referendum, formalising a split that began with the armed takeover of state buildings in a dozen eastern towns last month.

Another said the vote simply showed that the East wanted to decide its own fate, whether in Ukraine, on its own, or as part of Russia.

“Eighty-nine percent, that’s it,” the head of the separatist electoral commission in Donetsk, Roman Lyagin, said by telephone when asked for the result of a vote that the pro-Western Ukrainian government in Kiev has condemned as illegal.

A festive atmosphere at makeshift polling stations in some areas belied the potentially grave implications of the event. In others, clashes broke out between separatists and troops over ballot papers and control of a television tower.

Zhenya Denyesh, a 20-year-old student voting early at a university building in the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk, said: “We all want to live in our own country”. But asked what he thought would follow, he replied: “It will still be war.”

In the southeastern port of Mariupol, scene of fierce fighting last week, there were only eight polling centres for a population of half a million. Queues grew to hundreds of metres in bright sunshine, with spirits high as one centre overflowed and ballot boxes were brought onto the street.

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.

They refused to hand the men over to policemen who came to take them away, saying they did not trust them. Instead they waited for state security officers to interview and arrest them.

On the edge of Slaviansk, fighting broke out around a television tower shortly before people began making their way through barricades of felled trees, tyres and machinery for a vote the West says is being orchestrated by Moscow. The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said one serviceman was wounded.

A man was later reported killed in a clash in the eastern town of Krasnoarmeisk, Interfax-Ukraine news agency said, adding to a toll so far in the dozens but creeping higher by the day.

MORE SANCTIONS?

Western leaders, faced with Russian assertiveness not seen since the Cold War, have threatened more sanctions in the key areas of energy, financial services and engineering if Moscow disrupts a presidential election planned in Ukraine on May 25.

The European Union also declared the vote illegal on Sunday and may announce some modest measures as soon as Monday, limited by the bloc’s reluctance to upset trade ties with Russia.

Moscow denies any role in the fighting or any ambitions to absorb the mainly Russian-speaking east, an industrial hub, into the Russian Federation following its annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea after a referendum in March.

But, in a sign it may have set its sights beyond Crimea, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said he had brought a petition by residents of Moldova’s Russian-speaking breakaway region of Transdnestria backing union with Russia.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry called the eastern referendum a criminal farce, its ballot papers “soaked in blood”. One official said two thirds of the territory had not participated.

Ballot papers in the referendum in the regions of Donetsk, which has declared itself a “People’s Republic”, and the much smaller Luhansk, were printed without security provision, voter registration was patchy and there was confusion over what the vote was for. Separatists in Luhansk said only 5 percent had voted against.

A man who identified himself as a 33-year-old engineer with the first name of Sergei, voting in the industrial centre of Mariupol, said he would answer “Yes” to the question printed in Russian and Ukrainian on the ballot: “Do you support the act of state self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic?”

“We’re all for the independence of the Donetsk republic,” he said. “It means leaving behind that fascist, pro-American government (in Kiev), which brought no one any good.”

AUTONOMY, INDEPENDENCE, ANNEXATION

But in the same queue of voters, 54-year-old Irina saw a “Yes” vote as endorsement of autonomy within Ukraine.

“I want Donetsk to have its own powers, some kind of autonomy, separate from Kiev. I’m not against a united Ukraine, but not under those people we did not choose, who seized power and are going to ruin the country,” she said.

Others see the vote as a nod to absorption by Russia.

Annexation is favoured by the more prominent rebels, but the ambiguity may reflect their fears of an explicit call for full “independence” might not have garnered the support they seek and could leave them in an exposed position towards Kiev.

The present government came to power when President Viktor Yanokovich was toppled in February after mass protests in Kiev.

Pro-Western activists were angered by his decision to discard a cooperation accord with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow. They also accused him of corruption penetrating all areas of the Ukrainian state.

After voting ended in the hastily arranged referendum in 53 locations, the rebels hoped to have the ballots counted by Monday afternoon, although its outcome will not be widely recognised internationally or by Kiev.

With several hours of polling to go, Russian news agencies were already reporting a turnout of more than 75 percent, although a separatist spokesman in Luhansk said troops had prevented the movement of ballot papers in several areas.

One way or another it is likely to show a large “yes” vote, and one leading separatist said Ukrainian troops would be declared illegal occupiers once results were announced.

“It is necessary to form state bodies and military authorities as soon as possible,” Denis Pushilin, a leader of the self-styled Donetsk republic said, according to Interfax news agency.

Lyagin, head of the rebel central electoral commission in Donetsk, also took a strong position on the results.

“That can be considered the final and official result,” he said, reporting exact figures of 89.07 percent for and 10.19 percent against. “We demand the right to self-determination, and we will get it.”

He said that the result meant Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election would not take place in the Donetsk region.

Speaking to reporters earlier, he had appeared to have a less radical position.

“With the announcement of the results the status of the Donetsk region does not change in absolute terms. We do not cease to be a part of Ukraine, we do not become a part of Russia,” he said, although he left those options open.

Moscow has massed troops on the border and Kiev fears they may be called in as peacekeepers. Serhiy Pashinsky, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said a column of armoured vehicles on the Russian

— Phuket Gazette Editors

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 vaccine CEOs say 3rd dose may be needed along with annual jabs

Avatar

Published

on

Covid-19 vaccine CEOs say 3rd dose may be needed along with annual jabs | Thaiger
Stock photo of Pfizer vaccine via Flickr

The CEO for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines says it is likely that people will need a 3rd dose of the vaccine and to receive it annually. Albert Bourla, told CNBC, that the booster, or 3rd dose, will be needed less than a year after being fully vaccinated.

“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a 3rd dose, somewhere between 6 and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.”

Bourla’s comment echoes that of Johnson & Johnson’s CEO when he stated in February, that people may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually, just like seasonal flu shots. Both statements reflect the fact that since the vaccine is new, and testing periods are shorter than most vaccines in the past, researchers are still unclear about how long the vaccine will protect against the virus.

Pfizer says that its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 91% effective at protecting against the coronavirus and more than 95% effective against severe diseases up to 6 months after the 2nd dose. Moderna’s vaccine, which uses technology similar to Pfizer’s, was also shown to be highly effective at 6 months.

Just yesterday, the Biden administration’s Covid response chief science officer, David Kessler, noted that new Covid variants could “challenge” the effectiveness of the shots.

“We don’t know everything at this moment. We are studying the durability of the antibody response. It seems strong but there is some waning of that and no doubt the variants challenge … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”

Late last month, the National Institute of Health started testing a new Covid vaccine from Moderna in addition to the one it already has, designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa. The variant is similar to that of the UK one that has recently made landfall in Thailand.

Recent findings, by The Lancet, however, have stated that the UK variant, known as B117, has a higher reproductive rate than other strains, and it’s more transmissible. However, it refuted earlier reports that the strain is more severe. Meanwhile, Thailand’s health minister is confirming his commitment to making AstraZeneca the nation’s chosen vaccine.

SOURCE: CNBC

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Economy

China grows 18.3%, the only major economy to grow in 2020

Avatar

Published

on

China grows 18.3%, the only major economy to grow in 2020 | Thaiger
PHOTO: China - the second largest economy, and only major economy to grow last year.

China’s economy set a record for growth in Q1, 2021, marking an 18.3% jump in year-on-year figures, the biggest quarterly growth in almost 30 years. China only started publishing growth statistics in 1992, and this drastic increase is the fastest growth recorded since then.

The figures, however impressive, are mainly due to what is called a “low base effect” where the change from a low starting point translates into big percentage statistics. Because of the devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Q1 2020 figures were dismal, allowing the big gain over the last year.

Quarter to quarter, the last 3 months saw only a 0.6% growth, but in the last quarter of 2020 China recorded an economic boom of 6.5% according to the Chinese government. Still, the figures are admirable, as China was the only major economy in the world to achieve growth in 2020. Most of the planet struggled to contain global Covid-19 outbreaks, crippling economies across the globe. But China, now the second-largest economy in the world, managed a 2.3% overall expansion. Even Chinese officials called the impressive statistics “better than we had expected.”

China has been growing in terms of imports and exports as well, with exports expanding nearly 31% and imports up 38% by price over last years.

SOURCE: CNN

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

Denmark has announced that it is abandoning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first European country to do so, amid concerns about very rare but serious blood clots. The rollout of the vaccine has run into problems in several countries, with its use either temporarily suspended or restricted to older age groups.

When concerns first arose over the vaccine’s rare side-effects, Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend its use. In Thailand, use of the vaccine was suspended last month, before officials judged it safe to proceed, with Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul going on to confirm it would become the Kingdom’s primary Covid-19 vaccine.

Both the European drugs regulator and the World Health Organisation are standing by the jab, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. However, health officials in Denmark have now decided to ditch it for good.

“Denmark’s vaccination campaign will go ahead without the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Denmark has reported 2 cases of thrombosis (blood clotting) linked to administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of which proved fatal. The blood clot incidents arose after 140,000 people had received the jab. The Bangkok Post reports that 8% of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated and 17% have received their first dose.

The country plans to continue its rollout using the Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Officials say they are confident that the availability of other jabs, coupled with the fact that Covid-19 is relatively under control in Denmark, means the country’s mass inoculation can continue without issue.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has released a statement acknowledging the decision taken by Danish health authorities.

“We recognise and respect the decision taken by the Danish Health Authority. Implementation and rollout of the vaccine programme is a matter for each country to decide, based on local conditions. We will continue to collaborate with the regulators and local authorities to provide all available data to inform their decisions.”

SOURCE: Euro News | Bangkok Post

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list | Thaiger
Economy1 hour ago

Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break. | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Covid UPDATE: 1,547 new infections, restrictions start after midnight tonight | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 1,547 new infections, restrictions start after midnight tonight

No Covid-19 national curfew or lockdown yet for Thailand | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

No Covid-19 national curfew or lockdown yet for Thailand

Covid-19 brings surge in gold and cryptocurrency investment | Thaiger
Thailand6 hours ago

Covid-19 brings surge in gold and cryptocurrency investment

Nightlife venues ordered to close after midnight tonight, nationwide ban on serving alcohol | Thaiger
Thailand8 hours ago

Nightlife venues ordered to close after midnight tonight, nationwide ban on serving alcohol

Covid-19 vaccinations for June still on schedule | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Covid-19 vaccinations for June still on schedule

Thai government hospital staff forced to quarantine after patients lied about Covid-19 contacts | Thaiger
Thailand8 hours ago

Thai government hospital staff forced to quarantine after patients lied about Covid-19 contacts

Thailand’s Gulf islands not immune to 3rd wave as infections rise | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Thailand’s Gulf islands not immune to 3rd wave as infections rise

Khon Kaen University terminates well-known American scholar after he allegedly participates in decentralisation workshop | Thaiger
Expats10 hours ago

Khon Kaen University terminates well-known American scholar after he allegedly participates in decentralisation workshop

Songkran road deaths, injuries cut in half thanks to Covid surge | Thaiger
Thailand11 hours ago

Songkran road deaths, injuries cut in half thanks to Covid surge

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
Tourism11 hours ago

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

New restrictions start from midnight tonight (Saturday), more could come later | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

New restrictions start from midnight tonight (Saturday), more could come later

17 medical staff isolated due to dishonest Covid-19 patient | Thaiger
Medical1 day ago

17 medical staff isolated due to dishonest Covid-19 patient

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending