EXCLUSIVE: Rasmussen: Separatist Ukraine referendums ‘don’t count,’ pledges ‘further steps’ if needed

Amanpour

By Mick Krever, CNN

Referendums by separatists in Ukraine, such as Sunday’s in Donyetsk, “don’t count,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“These referendums are illegal, they are organized in a chaotic manner with dubious and ambiguous questions.”

Pro-Russian separatists claimed victory in a vote in the eastern Ukrainian region; they say that 90% of voters wanted independence from Ukraine.

The acting Ukrainian president called the referendum a “propagandist farce.”

“The only thing that counts is the presidential election on the twenty-fifth of May. And I urge all actors to make sure that those general elections can be conducted in an orderly manner,” Rasmussen told Amanpour.

NATO has tried, through limited troop deployments, military exercises, and air flights to present an enhanced deterrent to Russia, its erstwhile Cold War foe.

Amanpour challenged Rasmussen on whether that was enough.

“The allies say they’d like…

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