Officials condemned that Russians armed with machine guns pressure citizens to vote in favor of annexation
Despite condemnation from the United Nations, the international community as a whole and, above all, Kyiv, four regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces, Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, began a referendum on Friday. According to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya ballots, the question is whether anyone agrees to “stop being part of Ukraine, declare itself an independent state and join the Russian Federation?” You have to answer these three questions in one of the two boxes by marking yes or no.
In the case of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Russia already recognized as independent states, voters would have to answer the same question, whether or not they agreed to be part of Russia. In four regions, polling will be open until September 27, a total of five days.
It is surprising that those who were called to the polls are fighting on the front lines against Ukrainian troops or, in the case of the civilian population, a significant portion have been evacuated in Russia, where polling stations have been opened in some cities. There are, though not exactly where refugees from pro-Russian regions of Ukraine have been welcomed.
It is also unknown how the census was compiled and the extent to which the number of registered voters corresponds to the demographic reality of each of the four regional entities. Kyiv considers these consultations a “spectacle” that “will not change anything.”
They denounce that Russians armed with machine guns are forcing Ukrainians to vote in favor of the merger. ,
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov condemned pressure from Russian troops on the local population to “correctly vote” in the referendum to join Russia this Friday. As he explained on his Telegram channel, members of “election commissions” armed with machine guns visited a large section of the residents and persuaded them to vote in the face of intimidation. “There are massive registered cases of armed men knocking on doors, entering apartments and demanding to produce passports. Local residents are told where to mark the ballot paper.”
Moscow’s stated objective is that, once the four Ukrainian territories are incorporated into the Russian Federation, any retaliation by the Ukrainian military to recover the occupied territories will be against Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”. aggression”. In such a case, the Kremlin has omitted the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons as the main argument for the threat.
Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev this week encouraged pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels to consult without wasting time because, in his opinion, “they will allow Russia to use all its self-defense forces.” Medvedev believes that, once the consultation is done and the territories already annexed become part of the neighboring country, “It would be a crime to invade the territory of Russia and if it is committed, it will be all forces to be used in legitimate defence”, perhaps even nuclear weapons, a threat he himself has raised on several occasions.
The former Russian president and former prime minister believes that holding a referendum on accession to Russia is “very important not only for the safety of residents, but also for the restoration of historical justice.” “The geopolitical transformation of the world will be irreversible (…) once the new regions are integrated into Russia,” said Medvedev, the current deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.
These consultations were talked about for a long time and proceeded on different dates, one of the proposals being on the 11th, which coincided with municipal and regional elections in Russia, but later, due to the rigors of the fighting. Because, it was decided to postpone them for later. However, now, when the situation on the frontline is even more complicated after the great Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kharkov region, the decision to call a referendum has been taken hastily. And this is being done according to the same model carried out in Crimea in March 2014, which served as a justification for the Kremlin to annex the peninsula.