(QHA) -

A leader of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic" says the eastern Ukrainian region will not take part in the presidential election scheduled next month, RFE/RL.

Denis Pushilin was speaking on April 30 on a visit to Moscow on an apparent mission to seek support. 

Donetsk is one of a string of eastern Ukrainian cities where pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings. 

Pushilin confirmed the Donetsk Republic plans to hold a referendum on possible secession from Ukraine on May 11, and said it will hold its own leadership vote after that.

Ukraine's presidential election is scheduled to take place on May 25.

Pushilin also told reporters the separatists had enough people and weapons to defend their interests. 

He said that Russian officers were operating in the east of Ukraine but did not provide details.