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Russia begins to vote on annexation in Ukrainian regions According to Reuters



© Reuters. A serving member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic stands guard at a polling station ahead of the scheduled referendum on the accession of the Donetsk People’s Republic to Russia, in Donetsk, Ukraine September 22 year 2022. REUTERS / Alexander Ermoch

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia will begin a plan on Friday to annex about 15% of Ukraine’s territory through referendums in four regions controlled by Russian forces, a move the West says serious violation of international law caused the war to escalate significantly.

After nearly seven months of war and defeat on a key battlefield in northeastern Ukraine earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin unequivocally backed the referendums after Russian-controlled regions lined up to demanded a quick vote to join Russia.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which were recognized by Putin as independent shortly before the invasion, and the Russian-installed authorities in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will hold a vote.

The vote, which the West and Ukraine say is fake, will begin on Friday and will end on Tuesday, with results expected shortly thereafter.

Russia will officially annex the regions after the results are available.

“The Kremlin is holding a fake referendum to try to annex parts of Ukraine,” US President Joe Biden said at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” said Biden, who has featured the war as part of a global contest between democracy and autocracy.

Ukraine, whose border with post-Soviet Russia is recognized under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, says it will never accept Russian control over any of its territories and will fight the war. fight until the last Russian soldier is kicked out of the house.

Putin, Russia’s supreme leader since 1999, says Russia will never abandon those in areas it controls and who he says want to secede from Kyiv.

He sees the war as both a battle to save Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine from persecution and as a way to debunk what he says is the West’s plot to destroy Russia. Ukraine denies Russian speakers have been persecuted.

In a direct nuclear warning to the West, Putin said he would defend Russian territory – and these areas of Ukraine will soon be treated as Russian territory by Moscow – in any way he wants.

‘SHAM ELECTION’

It’s not clear exactly how voting would work in a war zone where so many people have been displaced. Russia controls most of Luhansk and Kherson, about 80% of Zaporizhzhia and only 60% of Donetsk. Fighting continued in all four regions.

The results are not in doubt.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Russian-installed officials in regions were setting turnout and approval rate targets invented, with some voter figures already being released. unified.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 after a pro-Russian president was ousted in Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and Russia annexed Crimea, while Russian-backed separatists were in the Donbas – including Donetsk. and Luhansk – seeking to escape Kyiv’s control.

After Russian forces took control of Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and was transferred to Ukraine under the Soviet Union, on February 27, 2014, a referendum on joining Russia was held. Held on March 16th.

Crimea’s leaders claimed 97% of the vote to secede from Ukraine. Russia officially added Crimea on March 21. Kyiv and the West argue that the referendum violates Ukraine’s constitution and international law.

“From next week, Russia will consider these Ukrainian territories as part of Russia and it will declare any attempt by Ukraine to retake territory under its sovereignty as a ‘Russian invasion’. “, said Mr Cleverly of England.



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