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HomeUKRussian-occupied areas of Ukraine start voting in ‘sham’ referendums

Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine start voting in ‘sham’ referendums


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our areas of Ukraine managed by Russian separatists have begun voting in so-called “referendums” to affix Russia.

The ballots, introduced on Tuesday by Russia-installed leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, are broadly seen as a precursor to the unlawful annexation of about 15 p.c of Ukraine’s territory.

The votes are to be held from Friday to Tuesday. They arrive after Ukraine launched a profitable counteroffensive this month which recaptured giant swathes of territory from Russia.

Russia, which introduced a partial mobilisation of its military reservists this week, claims the referendums are a chance for folks within the area to precise their view.

“From the very begin of the operation … we mentioned that the peoples of the respective territories ought to determine their destiny, and the entire present scenario confirms that they need to be masters of their destiny,” Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned this week.

However it’s broadly thought-about Russia intends to make use of the outcomes to assert common assist for annexation, much like its takeover of Crimea in 2014.

AP

Putin additionally hinted this might result in an escalation of drive on Wednesday, saying Russia would “use all of the means at our disposal” to guard itself. “This isn’t a bluff,” he mentioned.

World leaders together with Joe Biden, UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, in addition to NATO and the European Union, have all condemned the votes.

The “sham referenda” are “unlawful and illegitimate,” NATO mentioned.

The Organisation for Safety and Co-operation in Europe, which displays elections, mentioned the outcomes would haven’t any authorized drive as a result of they don’t conform with worldwide regulation.

Russia already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which collectively make up the Donbas area Moscow partially occupied in 2014, to be unbiased states.

Ukraine and the West take into account all components of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.

Russia doesn’t absolutely management any of the 4 areas, with solely round 60% of Donetsk area in Russian palms.

Ukraine mentioned the referendums have been an indication Russia was operating scared.

“Any choice that the Russian management could take adjustments nothing for Ukraine,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned on Thursday.

“Of curiosity to us are strictly the duties earlier than us. That is the liberation of our nation, defending our folks and mobilising world assist (public opinion) to hold out these duties.”


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