This Friday (23) begins the referendum held by the separatist regions of Ukraine that are occupied by Russian forces and their allied militias, and which deals with the accession of these territories to Russia. The act continues until the 27th of September.
In the referendum, residents will be asked whether they want to join Russia in four occupied regions of Ukraine. In the Donetsk and Kherson regions, face-to-face voting will only take place on the last day.
In Donetsk, the referendum question will be presented only in Russian. The chairman of the People’s Council – an unelected body – in the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk, Vladimir Bidyovka, said Russian is the “language of the state”.
The questions on the ballot vary slightly depending on each region.
At Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the question will be: “Are you in favor of the DPR joining the Russian Federation on the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation?”. The self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic uses the same phrase.
In Kherson the question will be: “Are you in favor of the secession of the Kherson region from the state of Ukraine, the formation of an independent state by the Kherson region and its accession to the Russian Federation as a subject of the Russian Federation?”
At the Kherson busy Marina Zakharova – who chairs the electoral commission – said about 750,000 people are expected to vote.
And in the occupied parts of zaporizhzhia the question is in both Russian and Ukrainian, and says: “Do you vote for the secession of Zaporizhzhia Oblast from Ukraine, the formation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast as an independent state and its accession to the Russian Federation as a sub-entity of the Russian Federation?”
Russia’s Central Election Commission said it will participate in monitoring referendums in all four areas.
In Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, local authorities have asked people to vote from home, saying the polls can be brought to them. A video from the Luhansk electoral commission says: “You can vote directly from home! From the 23rd to the 27th of September, you can vote at home.”
Ahead of the polls, pro-Russian officials are trying to get voters excited. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti showed a poster being distributed in Luhansk, which read “Russia is the future”.
“We are united by a history of 1,000 years”, he says. “For centuries, we were part of the same great country. The disintegration of the state was a huge political disaster… It is time to restore historic justice.”
Decision on the referendum
The referendum, according to the Luhansk leader, was highly anticipated. “We have all waited eight long years for a referendum on joining Russia. It has been our common dream and our common future. And so it happened. The referendum will take place,” explained Leonid Pasechnik.
The decision to hold the referendums comes after the Kremlin suffered a counteroffensive on the battlefield and lost territories in northeastern Ukraine.
But when asked about the matter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the people must decide their fate.
What do world authorities think?
Experts say it seems unlikely that such a rushed process, in areas where many voters live near the front lines of the conflict, could be successful or fair.
Furthermore, due to widespread internal displacement since the beginning of the conflict, voting databases are likely to be outdated. In Kherson, for example, Ukrainian officials said about half the population living there left after the war broke out.
The plans were condemned by the government of Ukraine and its allies in the West as “illegitimate” and “a sham”. THE European Union said it will not recognize the results and indicated that it is preparing a new package of sanctions against Russia.
via twitter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg , claimed that the votes lack legitimacy and do not change the nature of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. He further said that the international community must condemn this violation of international law and support the Ukrainians.
You United States they also stated that the referendums are an illegal farce and that they will not recognize the results.
The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin said in a televised address to the nation released on Wednesday that Russia welcomes separatist referendums in Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory and will do everything to support them.
For the International Analyst CNN , Lourival Sant’Anna, the referendum is “an attempt to intimidate Ukraine and NATO by saying: these are not occupied territories, these are Russian territories. You are attacking Russia. Therefore, we have the right to declare war, to mobilize our population”.
“It is a step that [Vladimir] Putin did not intend to give, but he is being forced because of his defeat on the ground.”
Source: CNN Brasil