The breakaway group in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region says over 89% percent of voters backed independence in its referendum on Sunday.
Roman Lyagin, head of the Central Electoral Commission of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic:
"We have decided to announce the results immediately. Each one of you can see for yourselves that this election was fair. Each one of you was able to visit the polling stations. And we have called you here to give you the results as soon as we had calculated them. We can see that the turnout percentage is quite high but is not a record for a Ukrainian plebiscite (vote) - 74.87 percent."
Donetsk is one of two regions holding referenda on independence from Ukraine.
The results from the other region, Lugansk, suggest that some 96% may have voted for self-rule.
About 3 million ballots have been distributed in towns and cities in the two regions, which have a total population of 6.6 million.
However, Ukrainian authorities and Western countries have denounced the controversial referenda as "illegal."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague:
"These votes (in eastern Ukraine), these attempts of referendum have zero credibility in the eyes of the world, they are illegal by any bodies, standards, they don't meet any standard, not a single standard of objectivity, transparency, fairness, or being properly conducted as a public referendum or election and indeed the people organising them didn't pretend to meet any of those standards."
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has said he expects EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday to agree to expand sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
Washington and its European allies are focusing their efforts on the presidential polls in Ukraine scheduled for May 25, and have warned Moscow against disrupting the vote.
However, Russia has said it respects the choice of the people in the two regions of Ukraine, while hoping that the implementation of the referendum results to be processed along civilized lines.
The referenda have been held after Crimea joined Russia in March following an independence referendum in the southern Ukraine peninsula, which was not recognized by Kiev and the West.
Russia is estimated to have some 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine and says they have been pulled back, but Nato says it has seen no sign of this.
For CRI, I'm Xie Zhao.
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