Prague - The referenda on secession organised in Ukraine´s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk by pro-Russian separatists on Sunday cannot be considered legitimate, but they show the mood among the Russian-speaking population, Czech President Milos Zeman said as quoted by his spokesman today.
Zeman considers it crucial that the turnout in the Ukrainian presidential election, scheduled for May 25, be as high as possible, the spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.
A boycott of the presidential election might mean the victory of the nationalist or even fascist forces, Ovcacek said in relation to the possible boycott of the election in eastern Ukraine.
Zeman believes that the newly elected president should start negotiating with representatives of the Russian-speaking population, Ovcacek said.
The separatists, who organised the referenda on sovereignty, claim that up to 80 percent of the inhabitants took part in them. But according to incumbent Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov, 24 percent of eligible voters participated in the referendum in the Luhansk region and about 32 percent in the Donetsk region.
The Czech Foreign Ministry today said it does not recognise the results of the two referenda held on May 11.
No unbiased information on the turnout is available since neither international organisations nor Western countries sent observers to eastern Ukraine. It is likely that the opponents of the separatists did not take part in the referenda in order to avoid undesirable attention by voting against the secession.