Regions of Ukraine controlled by Moscow in ‘fake’ vote to join Russia

A referendum to become part of Russia began on Friday in a region of Ukraine controlled by Moscow, a Russian-backed official said.

Kremlin-led referendumwhich have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as unenforceable fakes, are seen as a step towards Russia’s annexation of the territory.

Voting is taking place in Luhansk, Kherson, and the partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions.

A vote asking residents whether they want their region to be part of Russia is sure to go the Moscow way. That would give Russia a pretext to claim that the Ukrainian military’s attempt to regain control was an attack on Russia itself, dramatically escalating the seven-month war.

Referendum follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision Order of partial mobilization, about 300,000 Russian troops could join the battle. Voting will continue for five days through Tuesday.

Russian social media sites were flooded with dramatic scenes of tears in families bidding farewell to men departing from military mobilization centers as votes were being held in the occupied territories. In cities across the vast country, men hugged crying families before leaving as part of the conscription. Russian anti-war activistMeanwhile, we planned further protests against the mobilization.

Citing security reasons, officials set up by Russia in the occupied territories said election officials brought ballots to people’s homes during the first four days of the referendum and placed makeshift ballots near their homes. We are going to set up polling stations. Tuesday is the only day voters are invited to cast regular ballots.

Soldiers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic stand guard at a polling station in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sept. 20. February 22, 2022.

Voting has also started in Russia, allowing refugees from the occupied territories to vote.

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

Addressing the occupied territories on Friday in an online statement, the Speaker of the Duma of Russia, Vyacheslav Volodin, said:

Russia’s Senate President Valentina Matvienko said residents of the occupied territories were voting “life or death” in referendums.

Soldiers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic pass in front of a banner on the polling station door before the referendum on the Donetsk People's Republic's accession to Russia scheduled for September 20.  February 22, 2022, Donetsk, Ukraine. The banner reads: "Referendum district committee number.  17008".
The referendum follows Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization order.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky switched from Ukrainian to Russian and spoke directly in his nightly speeches after briefly mentioning the “fake referendum” Russian citizen They are “destroyed.”

“You are already an accomplice to all these crimes, murders and tortures against Ukrainians.” For men in Russia, this is a choice: live or die, be crippled or stay healthy.Russian women’s choice is to lose their husbands, sons and grandchildren forever, or death, war, alone. It’s about trying to protect them from people who are like that.”

The vote comes against the backdrop of constant fighting in Ukraine, with Russian and Ukrainian forces firing back as both sides refuse to concede.

On Friday morning, pro-Russian officials in the Zaporizhia region reported a large explosion in the center of Melitopol, a city occupied by Moscow early in the war. The official Vladimir Rogov did not provide details about the cause of the explosion or whether there were any damages or casualties.

Authorities in the Russian-backed Donetsk region also accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the region’s capital city of Donetsk and the neighboring city of Yasnuvata.

Ukrainian officials have now reported a new round of Russian shelling in various parts of the country. He said an explosion rang out in the city of Mykolaiv in the early hours.

Valentin Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said Russian troops opened fire on the city of Nikopol across the Dnieper from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant on Friday morning.

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