Voting begins in Russian-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia

Kyiv, Ukraine Voting began Friday in Moscow-controlled areas of Ukraine for a referendum to become part of Russia, Russian-backed officials said.

Kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have taken place. It was widely condemned by Ukraine and the West. Without any legal force, it is seen by Russia as a step towards annexing the territories.

Voting is taking place in Luhansk, Kherson and the partially Russian-controlled regions of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk.

The vote, which asks residents whether they want their regions to be part of Russia, is certain to go Moscow’s way. This would give the Kremlin an excuse to make that claim. Attempts by Ukrainian forces to regain control Attacks on Russia itself are increasing dramatically. The Seven Months War.

Russia-Ukraine War Referendum Explainer
FILE – A military vehicle drives down a street with a billboard reading: “Forever with Russia, September 27”, ahead of a referendum in Luhansk, Luhansk People’s Republic, against Russian-backed separatists. Controlled by, Eastern Ukraine, Thursday, September 22, 2022. Ukraine’s four occupied regions are set to begin voting in a Kremlin-engineered referendum on Friday, September 23, 2022, on whether to become part of Russia, setting the stage for Moscow to annex the regions in about seven months at a fast pace. Is. war

/ AP

The referendum is following Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin orders partial mobilizationThat could add up to 300,000 Russian troops to the fight. Polling will continue for five days from Tuesday.

As voting took place in the occupied territories, Russian social media sites were filled with dramatic scenes of families crying goodbye to men leaving military mobilization centers. In cities across the country, men hugged their weeping family members before departing as part of the draft.

Russian anti-war activists, meanwhile, planned more demonstrations against mobilization. According to an independent monitor group, more than 1,000 arrests have been made in widespread protests since the announcement of the partial call-up. Flights from Russia were said to be filling up and lines of outbound traffic at the border with Finland and other countries were miles long at one point. According to the news agency Reuters, traffic was still heavy on Friday morning.

Russian reaction to President Putin's mobilization for war against Ukraine
Russian police detain protesters during an unsanctioned protest rally against President Vladimir Putin’s partial national military mobilization during the war in Ukraine on September 21, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.


Election officials will bring ballots to people’s homes and set up temporary polling stations near residential buildings during the first four days of the polls, according to Russian officials stationed in the occupied territories, citing security reasons. Tuesday will be the only day when voters will be invited to come to the polls regularly.

Voting also began in Russia, where refugees from occupied territories could cast their votes.

Denis Pushilin, the separatist leader of Moscow-backed authorities in the Donetsk region, called Friday’s referendum “a historic milestone.”

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, addressed the occupied territories in an online statement on Friday: “We will support you if you decide to become part of the Russian Federation.”

Valentina Matviyenko, head of Russia’s upper house, said residents of the occupied territories were voting for “life or death” in the referendum.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky only briefly mentioned the “sham referendum” in his nightly address, in which he switched from speaking Ukrainian to Russian to directly tell Russian citizens that they were “in their Being thrown into the mouth of death.”

He said that you are already complicit in all these crimes, murders and torture of Ukrainians. “Because you are silent. Because you are silent. And now it is time for you to choose. For men in Russia, it is a choice to die or live, to be crippled or to save health. For women in Russia it is There is a choice. Lose your husbands, your sons, your grandsons forever, or still try to save them from death, from war, from one person.”

The vote is taking place against a backdrop of continued fighting in Ukraine, with Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanging fire as both sides refuse to concede territory.

On Friday morning, pro-Russian officials in the Zaporizhzhia region reported a loud explosion in the center of Melitopol, a city Moscow captured early in the war. Official Vladimir Rogov did not provide any details on what caused the explosion or whether there were any damage or casualties.

Moscow-backed authorities in the Donetsk region also accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the region’s capital, Donetsk, and the nearby city of Yasinavata.

Ukrainian officials, in turn, reported new rounds of Russian shelling in various parts of the country. The governor of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, which borders Kherson region, Vitaly Kim said the explosions occurred in the city of Mykolaiv early Friday morning.

Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said the Russians shelled the city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Friday morning.

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