Yesterday we correctly predicted that while the world is distracted by this and that, the next real short-term catalyst is the east Ukraine referendum vote on Sunday, whose results would be available as soon as May 11, indicating that, almost with 100% certainty, the Ukraine region would vote to become independent.
This was promptly followed by a skillful diplomatic gambit by Putin who, knowing full well Donetsk would just say no, suggested the referendum be postponed thus giving himself cover when the western press attacked him for using Crimean tactics for the second time in two months. This was confirmed this morning when the Donetsk "separatists" indeed politely thanked Putin for his concern, but decided to proceed with this weekend's referendum anyway.
The irony is that as we also explained yesterday, the Crimea scenario is fully in play once more. Confirming precisely that was news from News of Donbass which reported moments ago that in the aftermath of the new certain May 11 referendum, a week later east Ukraine will formalize the Russia annexation process and on May 18 there will be a "second round of the referendum where you will be asked to support accession to the Donestk region of Russia."
From News of Donbas:
Gathered on the square of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, administration representatives announced a "referendum" in two rounds. As the correspondent of URA-Inform.Donbass, the first round of the referendum will be held on May 11.
In the first round resident of Donetsk will be offered to vote for recognition of the Donetsk republic and then on May 18 will be held the second round of the referendum ", where you will be asked to support accession to the Donetsk region of Russia.
The decision on such a scheme of "referendum" was made today at a meeting of deputies DNR today in Donetsk.
We note that the pro-Russian activists gathered in the square outside the administrative building reactied negatively to the assessment statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to delay the "referendum".
In summary: in one master stroke, Putin "distanced" himself from the Donetsk administration so he is not seen as pulling their strings, and more importantly, in 10 days, said Donetsk republic will formally join Russia.
And that is how you successfully conduct foreign policy. There is a second way: using hash tags.