War in Ukraine: Mock referendums in occupied territories have begun

War in Ukraine: Mock referendums in occupied territories have begun


In the areas occupied by Moscow in the east and south of Ukraine, mock referendums on the region’s accession to the Russian Federation began on Friday. The separatist leader Denis Puschilin spoke of a historic day in the “Donetsk People’s Republic” recognized by Russia.

“This referendum is crucial, it is a breakthrough into a new reality,” he said in a video published on the Telegram news channel. The Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions also informed about the start of voting.

A mock referendum was also scheduled for the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson. The hundreds of thousands of people have until September 27 to cast their votes. The Luhansk region announced that citizens who fled to Russia could also vote there.

The head of the central election commission of the Donetsk “People’s Republic” visits a polling station.
© REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko / ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

With the help of the result, Russia wants to incorporate the areas and invokes the “right of self-determination of peoples”. Neither Ukraine nor the international community recognize the vote under occupying Russia.

These are sham referendums because they are being held without Ukraine’s consent, under martial law and not according to democratic principles. Free work by international independent observers is also not possible.

We’re coming back home. The Donbass is Russia.

Denis Puschilin

“We’re coming back home,” said Puschilin. This is not only a win for the people of Donbass, but also for Russia, which will then grow. “Donbass is Russia.”

In the Zaporizhia region, only those parts controlled by Russian troops are voted on. The regional capital itself is controlled by Ukraine. The polls started without any problems, said the polling officer Galina Katyushchenko.

For the time being, voting will take place outdoors – for safety reasons. According to the authorities, on September 27th voting will take place in all areas in polling stations. (dpa)

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