Kiev, 23 September 2022 (dpa/MIA) – In the Russian-occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine, referendums on the regions’ accession to the Russian Federation began on Friday.
Separatist leader Denis Pushilin in the Russian-recognized Donetsk People’s Republic spoke of a historic day. “This referendum is decisive, it is the breakthrough into a new reality,” he said in a video posted on the Telegram news channel.
The regions also announced the start of voting. A similar referendum was also scheduled in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson.
Hundreds of thousands of people have until September 27 to cast their votes.
The Luhansk region announced that citizens who had fled to Russia could also vote there.
Russia wants to use the result to annex the territories and has invoked the “right of self-determination of peoples.”
Neither Ukraine nor the international community recognize the vote under Russia as the occupying power. They are not considered to be legitimate referendums because they are being held without Ukraine’s consent, under martial law and not according to democratic principles.
Nor is it possible for international independent observers to work freely.
The result in Russia’s favour is thought to be a foregone conclusion.