Pro-Russian territories of Ukraine began voting for joining Russia

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Express referendums called by pro-Russian authorities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR), as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye, began on Friday in the first phase to allow the annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Russia soon.

The vote, dismissed by the Ukrainian government and the West as part of the Kremlin’s plans for the neighboring country, will last five days: from Friday, September 23, to Tuesday, September 27.

Different days

For the first four days, citizens will be able to vote at home or at specific locations. Finally, schools will open

In the first four days, citizens can vote at home and in specially equipped places. “General polling stations will be opened only later,” Galina Katyushenko, head of the Zaporizhia Region Election Commission, told Interfax. The same mechanism will work in other regions.

Pro-Russian leaders in the region announced the organization of these ethnic voices earlier this week, September 19-20.

The DPR and LPR in eastern Ukraine declared themselves independent in 2014, but Russia only recognized them as sovereign states after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered “special military operations” and launched the largest armed conflict. In Europe after World War II.

“Dummy” vote

Western countries do not recognize the implications and the EU has warned of new sanctions

Officials from these entities will ask voters if they support Russia’s accession. In the southern Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, the ballot will also include the question of whether there is support in these regions for the creation of an independent state like the first two states.

Their decision affects the entire territory of the Ukrainian province, although the Russian army currently controls everything. Russian authorities in Zaporozhye also consider declaring independence for the entire region, including the capital (of the same name), which remains under Ukrainian control.

Russian and pro-Russian forces are in almost complete control of the Luhansk region, but after a counter-offensive that drove the Russians out of Kharkiv this month, and depending on Ukrainian advances, they could withdraw. On Monday, Ukraine announced that its forces had recaptured several towns in Luhansk, including Belogorivka, just 6 kilometers from Lysichansk, the last town the Russians took last July, when they believed they were in full control of the region.

After seven months of military intervention, Moscow has still not been able to crush the Ukrainian resistance in Donetsk, and it controls only 55%.

In Kherson, most of the territory is under Russian control, but Ukrainian forces are still present. And in Zaporozhye, more than half are controlled by Russians, slightly less Ukrainians.

On Wednesday, September 21, a day after the referendum was announced, Putin issued a partial military mobilization order to recruit and include 300,000 reservists in his Ukrainian campaign. Military registration and enlistment offices began recruiting future soldiers on Wednesday, and photographs of young men heading to training centers ahead of their final destination, in most cases a war front in Ukraine, were released in the following days.

In a televised address to the nation, Putin pledged his support for the referendum result.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi assured that the votes would not change anything in the task of ridding his country of the Russian presence. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Kyiv would “liberate” the region “in the future”, “they say anything in Russia.”

Western countries, led by the United States, France and Germany, will not recognize the results of the referendum and call these days “imaginary” or “farce”. The European Union has warned of new sanctions against Russia.

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