Tensions High in Ukraine's Mariupol as East Votes on Sovereignty

Molotov bottles at the ready behind the barricades in Mariupol.
Molotov bottles at the ready behind the barricades in Mariupol on Sunday, May 11, 2014.Richard Engel

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MARIUPOL, Ukraine - Voters in Mariupol, a city in eastern Ukraine hit by deadly clashes between pro-Russian separatists and forces loyal to the Ukrainian government, cast their ballots in a sovereignty referendum on Sunday.

At least seven people died Friday in clashes in Mariupol, and the city on edge throughout the weekend, with barricades of tires blocking some streets in the city center.

Officials there said there were only eight polling centers for half a million people, according to Reuters.

Regions of eastern Ukraine were voting whether to split from the rest of the country as the government in Kiev warned that choosing self rule would spell destruction.