Russia starts referendums on annexation of occupied Ukraine regions

MOSCOW – Four ukrainian territories controlled, in whole or in part, by Russian forces, this Friday, the 23rd, began voting on referendums to decide on annexation to the Russia, informed local authorities. The process, which takes place in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzia, is expected to continue until 27 September.

the residents of donetsk and luhansk will be asked whether they “support their republic’s accession to Russia as a federal matter.” Already the residents of zaporizhzia and Kherson will have to decide whether “they favor the separation of the Ukraine region, the creation of an independent country and the subsequent accession to Russia as a federal matter”.

According to the pro-Russian authorities, during the first four days of voting, for security reasons, citizens must vote in their homes and in specially designated places. Only on the last day will possible polling stations be authorized. The same procedure will apply in all territories where consultations are held.

In practice, if the population approves the annexation, Moscow would consider the four regions as part of its own territory., making a Ukrainian aggression to these areas an attack on the Russian nation. This possibility worries the West, especially after the Russian president, Vladimir Putinhave threatened to use nuclear weapons against any attack on their country’s territory.

THE Ukraine and its international allies deny the legitimacy of these Kremlin-orchestrated referendums and claim the process would be a farce. The Ukrainians also accuse the Russian security forces of manipulating electoral rolls in the occupied territories and of persecuting and kidnapping citizens loyal to Kiev.

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This week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, condemned the referendums and stressed that “any annexation of territory by force is a violation of international law”. Also in a speech at the UN, US President Joe Bidencalled the referendums “false” and accused Russia of wanting to “end Ukraine’s right to exist as a state”. /EFE, AP and Tass

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