The United Nations says it remains ‘fully committed’ to Ukraine’s territorial integrity ‘within its internationally recognized borders’.
International IDEA calls on the international community to condemn these referendums on Ukraine’s territories as illegitimate and illegal. The authorities in Ukraine condemned the move.
Referendum in the occupied territories of Ukraine are happening during the war:
Russian-installed officials in occupied regions of Ukraine have reported huge majorities in favor of becoming part of Russia after five days of voting in referendums that Kyiv and its allies have condemned as illegitimate and a sham.
Hastily arranged votes took place in four areas – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson – that make up about 15 percent of Ukrainian territory.
Referendum in Ukraine amid War:
Luhansk authorities said 98.4 percent of people there had voted to join Russia. In Zaporizhia, a Russian-appointed official put the figure at 93.1 percent. In Kherson, the head of the voting committee said the “yes” vote was above 87 percent.
Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said 99.2 percent of participants in the region had voted to join Russia. In all four areas, officials said all the ballots had been counted.
Within the occupied territories, ballot boxes were reportedly taken from house to house in what Ukraine and its allies have called an illegitimate, coercive exercise to create a legal pretext for Russia to annex the four regions.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin could then portray any Ukrainian attempt to recapture its territory as an attack on Russia itself. He said last week he was willing to use Nuclear Weapons to defend the “territorial integrity” of Russia.
UNSC meeting on Ukraine:
Following the voting, the UN Security Council conducted a public meeting to discuss the referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, addressed the assembly virtually shortly after it was revealed that Zaporizhia region inhabitants had apparently chosen to join Russia.
“Russia is holding this so-called sham referendum on the occupied territory of Ukraine in front of the eyes of the entire world,” Zelensky claimed.
People are intimidated with submachine guns while being forced to fill out paperwork.
RIA on Russia-Ukraine War:
People who had left the four regions for Russia were also able to vote and state news agency RIA said early counts showed numbers in excess of 96 percent in favor of the Ukrainian territory coming under Moscow’s rule.
Ukraine has repeatedly warned that the Russian annexation of its regions would destroy any chance of peace talks with Moscow, which began its invasion seven months ago.
The votes were hastily arranged within a few days after Ukraine routed Russian forces in the northeastern Kharkiv region, and made gains in the south as a September counteroffensive gathered momentum.
Kyiv’s allies reiterated their condemnation of the referendums, with Canada saying it would impose new sanctions.
past referendum in Crimea:
The votes follow a similar referendum conducted in Crimea after Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 when Moscow-backed leaders declared a 97 percent vote to join Russia. The annexation has never been recognized by the international community.