Polling Stations Closed in Eastern Ukraine
Vote counting is underway in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk where polling is underway to determine whether or not to split from Kiev.
Voters have been forced to make their way to polling stations through streets blocked by barricades of felled trees and tires.
Natalia Vorobyova chairs the make-shift election commission.
"The voting is going really well. People are coming to us like it's a holiday. Today for Luhansk residents in general it's a holiday. The referendum is a big holiday in our city. Not only in our city, but in the whole of Donbass, where the referendum is being held. The turnout is really big."
Around 75-percent of those eligible have voted.
Roman Lyagin is the head of Donetsk's electoral commission.
"We just want to express our right to self-determination. The status of the Donetsk region after the announcement of the outcome of the referendum will change absolutely nothing. We do not want to cease to be part of Ukraine, we do not want to become a part of Russia, we just want to tell the world that we want to change."
In the Donetsk region, pro-Ukrainian government gunmen have stormed a polling station, killing one person.
Authorities in Kiev are blasting the referendum, saying the vote has no legal consequences.
The referendum is similar to the one in Crimea in March which saw the Ukrainian region vote to join Russia.
The referendum by pro-Russian supporters comes despite a call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold off on the vote.
For more on the referendum, CRI's Xiao Yi spoke earlier with Gao Fei with China Foreign Affairs University.