4 regions of Ukraine ‘referendum’ to join Russia

4 regions of Ukraine ‘referendum’ to join Russia
4 regions of Ukraine ‘referendum’ to join Russia

Referendums are reportedly being held in four regions of Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatist groups and Moscow. This alleged vote was organized to join Russia. Meanwhile, world leaders at the United Nations meeting in New York condemned Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Russia’s aggression has slowed somewhat in recent months and Ukraine has retaken parts of the northeast. Now Russian-backed officials in the east and south say they want a vote on joining Russia this week.

Earlier in 2014, Russia came under criticism for holding a referendum on the annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to address the nation on Tuesday (September 20) evening. But a source close to the Kremlin later indicated that it had been suspended, without reason.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday that the ‘fraudulent’ ‘referendum’ will not change anything’. In a tweet, he added, Ukraine has the right to liberate its territories and will continue to reclaim them regardless of what Russia says.

The international community has never recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea. But it is clear that Russia wants to use other occupied territories in the same way.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said referendums in areas like Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk would change the course of Russian history. As a result of the referendum, these areas will become Russian territory. This will create more opportunities for the Kremlin to defend its territory.

Soon after, two breakaway Russian-backed authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk said they would hold elections from September 23 to 27. President Putin recognized both regions as independent three days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine from the north, east and south.

Russian-backed officials in the southern region of Kherson said they would also hold a vote. Similar announcements came from the Russian-held region of Zaporizhia.

In an apparently coordinated move, Russia-backed separatists announced September 23 to 27 referendums in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia provinces, representing about 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory, or an area the size of Hungary.

Source: Reuters, BBC

SNR/

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