The Donetsk Region People's Council announced plans to hold a referendum over the creation of the Donetsk People's Republic no later than May 11.
"The Donetsk People's Republic is being created within the administrative borders of the Donetsk region. A decision to that effect will take effect immediately after the referendum," according to the Council resolution read out by one of its leaders.
The vote is due to take place on May 11, 2014 the latest, he said.
The Council session was broadcast by the Rossiya-24 television channel.
The activist, who was speaking before the Donetsk regional council said the date was agreed upon with activists in the Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, an Interfax correspondent said.
The Donetsk Regional People's Council asked the Russian authorities for help. "We are ready to fight for our ideas and ideals, but without your support, without the support of Russia, it will be difficult for us to resist the Kiev junta on our own," the statement said.
Several thousand people gathered for a pro-Russian rally near the heavily guarded Donetsk regional administration headquarters on Sunday.
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