Russia’s war in Ukraine

Volodymyr Vysotsky, head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, visits a polling station on September 22 in Donetsk, Ukraine, ahead of a scheduled referendum on the Donetsk People’s Republic joining Russia. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Four regions of Ukraine are occupied by pro-Moscow forces. Preparing for the Referendum on formal accession to Russia, in a move widely seen as a foregone conclusion in support of accession.

The referendum, which runs counter to international law upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, could pave the way for Moscow to frame Ukraine’s ongoing counterattack as an attack on Russia itself.

Polling is scheduled to take place over five days from Friday to Tuesday.

The questions on the ballot vary slightly by region.

  • I Donetsk People’s Republic, the question, which will be presented only in Russian, will be: “Are you in favor of joining the DPR in the Russian Federation on the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation?” Self-declaration Luhansk People’s Republic Uses the same sentence.
  • I Khersonthe question will be: “Are you in favor of the separation of the Kherson region from the state of Ukraine, the creation of an independent state by the Kherson region and its inclusion in the Russian Federation as a subject of the Russian Federation?”
  • and in the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhiathe question is in both Russian and Ukrainian, and reads: “Do you support the secession of Zaporizhzhia Oblast from Ukraine, the establishment of Zaporizhzhia Oblast as an independent state and its annexation as a subsidiary of the Russian Federation?” “Vote in the Russian Federation?”

In both Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, local authorities have urged people to vote from home, saying ballot boxes can be brought to them.

Ahead of the vote, pro-Russian officials are trying to galvanize voters. Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti showed a poster being distributed in Luhansk, which read “Russia is the future.”

It says “We are united by a thousand years of history. “For centuries we were part of one great country. The collapse of the state was a huge political disaster. … It is time to restore historical justice.”

A military vehicle drives along the road with a billboard reading. "Forever With Russia, September 27" Ahead of the September 22 referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.
A military vehicle with the sign “Forever with Russia, September 27” drives down the road ahead of the September 22 referendum in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. (AP)

In a statement, the election monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, condemned the “illegal referenda”.

“Any so-called ‘referendum’ planned by or with the assistance of forces exercising illegality. in fact “Controls in the occupied territories of Ukraine would be contrary to international standards and obligations under international humanitarian law, and therefore their results would have no legal force,” said the OSCE, which monitors elections in 57 member states. .

Ukraine has. Rejected the referendum. as “deception” stemming from “fear of defeat” in the occupied territories, while the country’s Western backers have made it clear they will never recognize Russia’s claim to the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

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