Pro-Moscow separatists have declared victory in a referendum on "self-rule" for the "People's Republic of Donetsk" in eastern Ukraine, saying that 89% of voters have approved the measure.
However, the Ukraine government, the U.S. and the EU have condemned the ballot as illegal, with Kiev saying it was full of irregularities.
What "self-rule" means isn't totally clear, with three options being autonomy within Ukraine, total independence or a merger with Russia.
The fear is that the poll will cause Ukraine to slide into civil war, especially if Russia recognizes the result and Donetsk disrupts a Presidential election that's due to take place on May 25.
Meanwhile, Gazprom (GZPFY) continues to ramp up the economic-energy pressure on Ukraine, saying the gas bill to the state-owned Russian company has soared to $22B compared with under $2B in March. Gazprom has threatened to cut supplies to Ukraine if it doesn't pay up.
Russia's Micex index is flat, while the USD-RUB is -0.1% at 35.187 rubles.