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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 12th, 2014
05:24 PM ET

Is Ukrainian secession vote valid?

(CNN) - A separatist leader declared Monday that eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region was not only independent, but also would ask to join Russia - a day after referendum organizers claim voters in the region chose to break away from Kiev.

Denis Pushilin, self-declared leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, told a crowd that no further referendum was needed to ask Russia to annex it.

Pro-Russian separatists held a referendum Sunday asking residents of the Donetsk region whether it should declare independence from Ukraine. Nearly 90% of voters in the area favored secession, an election official said Monday.

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