Russia To Hold ‘Limited’ Ukraine Annexation Vote, Including For Region Of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant
Russia is planning to hold “limited” referendums in September for territory it’s captured in Ukraine, according to regional media citing government sources. This is expected to start in the Donbas – where fighting is still raging after Russian forces have captured significant territory, particularly with the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), according to a recent Moscow Times report:
Moscow is “impatient” and would like to “pull off” referendums in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as fast as possible amid stalemate on the battlefield, said the Vyorstka news website citing unidentified government sources.
A senior Russian lawmaker, Andrei Turchak, was cited as saying last week, “These territories are Russian regions.”
While in the opening weeks and months of the now 6-month long invasion there was widespread speculation over whether Russia would seek to annex territory outside the Donbas, it now seems clear the Kremlin is talking about referendums beyond just the far east.
Crucially, at a moment the world has watched with growing alarm the volatile situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine, Russian state media is now previewing a referendum in Zaporizhzhia Oblast during the coming weeks.
According to TASS on Wednesday (machine translation):
The referendum on the status of the liberated territories of the Zaporizhia region will be held in September, the exact date is still unknown. Berdyansk Mayor Alexander Saulenko announced this to journalists on Wednesday.
“The referendum will, of course, be held on our territory. We are preparing for this referendum, it is planned for September, but I can’t say the exact date yet.”
The White House has meanwhile condemned any efforts at staging “sham” referendums, which it said the US will never recognize.
According to the latest Biden administration response to the latest Russian media reports:
The people of Ukraine do not want to join Russia. The Russian government is preparing a sham referendum in parts of Ukraine. Russia will certainly manipulate the truth and in doing so endanger Ukrainian sovereignty. https://t.co/kS9QeFaw52
— Vedant Patel (@StateDeputySpox) August 30, 2022
“Since they obviously are having trouble achieving geographic gains inside Ukraine, they are trying to gain that through false political means,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing last week.
“The Russian officials themselves know that what they’re doing will lack legitimacy, and it will not reflect the will of the people,” he added.
Wed, 08/31/2022 – 18:20