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Four regions of Ukraine prepare to hold referendums on joining Russia – Times of India

KYIV: 4 areas or Ukraine controlled by Russia And while pro-Moscow forces were preparing to hold a referendum on Russia’s membership on Friday, the West widely condemned the vote as illegal and a precursor to illegal annexation.
Leaders stationed in Russia on Tuesday unveiled plans for a vote in a challenge to the West that could sharply escalate the war. The result is seen as a foregone conclusion in favor of annexation, and Ukraine and its allies have made it clear that they will not recognize the result.
Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson When Zaporizhia The province, which accounts for about 15% of Ukrainian territory, is scheduled to run from Friday to Tuesday.
Ukraine launched a counter-offensive this month, sacking territorial gains seven months after Russia invaded and launched a war that killed thousands, displaced millions and damaged the global economy. part was recaptured.
The referendum had been debated by pro-Moscow officials for months, but Ukraine’s recent victory has forced officials to scramble to schedule them.
with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin Moscow also appears to be regaining its upper hand in the conflict by announcing a military draft this week to mobilize 300,000 troops to fight in Ukraine.
Russia claims it is an opportunity for people in the region to express their opinions.
“Since the beginning of the operation, we have said that the people of each territory should decide their own destinies, and the whole current situation makes them want to be the masters of their destinies,” the Russian foreign minister said. It confirms that there is,” he said. Sergei Lavrov said this week.
Ukraine says Russia will frame the referendum result as a sign of popular support and intend to use it as a pretext for annexation, similar to the 2014 annexation of Crimea, which the international community has not recognized.
By incorporating the four regions into Russia, Moscow can justify the military escalation necessary to defend its territory. Putin On Wednesday, Russia said it would “use any means at our disposal” to defend itself, a clear reference to nuclear weapons. “This is not a bluff,” he said.
Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russian president from 2008 to 2012, said in a Telegram post that “an invasion of Russian territory is a crime against which all means of self-defense can be used.”
A referendum result in favor of Russia is considered inevitable. The 2014 Crimea vote was internationally criticized as rigged, but the official result was 97% in favor of formal annexation.
“If this is all declared to be Russian territory, they can declare this a direct attack on Russia, so they can fight without any reservations,” Luhansk regional governor said. Sergei Gaidai told Ukrainian television.
The referendum has been condemned by world leaders, including the US president Joe BidenUN Secretary-General António Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, and NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
A “fake referendum” was “illegal and illegal,” NATO said Thursday.
The OSCE, which monitors the elections, said it had no legal effect because the results did not comply with Ukrainian law or international standards and the region was not safe.
There were no independent observers, and much of the pre-war population fled.
Russia already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which make up the Donbas region partially occupied by Moscow in 2014, independent states.
Ukraine and the West believe that all of Ukraine, which is held by Russian forces, is illegally occupied. Russia does not fully control any of her four regions, and only about 60% of the Donetsk region is in Russian hands.
Ukraine said the referendum was a sign that Russia was frightened. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Any decision taken by the Russian leadership will not change anything for Ukraine.”
“What we are concerned with is precisely the task before us. to mobilize public opinion.”
Putin said Russia was carrying out a “special military operation” to demilitarize Ukraine, eliminate dangerous nationalists and protect Russia from NATO.
Kyiv And the West calls Russia’s actions an unprovoked imperialist attempt to reconquer a country that shook off Russian rule with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russian forces hit several towns on Thursday, including Zaporizhia, which was hit by about 10 shells, said regional governor Oleksander Stalf. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said two people were killed and six wounded in Russian mortar fire in the town of Tretsk in the Donetsk region.
The top Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk have denounced the Ukrainian attack as a “cynical barbaric artillery attack” intended to inflict as much damage as possible on civilians.
“That’s why we want to act quickly and with greater determination on measures such as holding a referendum,” said Denis Pushirin.
“We’ve been waiting for it for a long time. We’ve been dreaming of it. And it’s finally coming.”
Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the battlefield report.

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