Ukraine says residents coerced into Russian annexation vote « Khabarhub
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Ukraine says residents coerced into Russian annexation vote


25 September 2022  

Time taken to read : 3 Minute


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KYIV: Western nations and Ukraine say voting is a sham that began Friday on Russian referendums aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine.

Some local officials said voters were being intimidated and threatened.

In the balloting, scheduled to run from Friday to Tuesday in the provinces of Luhansk, Kherson and the partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, voters are being asked if they want their areas to become part of Russia.

Polls also opened in Russia, where refugees and other residents from those areas could vote.

The West and Ukraine said the voting is illegal under international law.

“Any elections or referenda on the territory of Ukraine can only be announced and conducted by legitimate authorities in compliance with national legislation and international standards,” the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe a said in a statement. “Therefore, the planned ‘referenda’ will be illegal.”

Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving some occupied areas until the vote was over, armed groups were going to homes to force people to cast ballots, and employees were told they could be fired if they did not participate.

Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s Luhansk governor, said in the town of Starobilsk, the population was banned from leaving and people were being forced out of their homes to vote.

“Today, the best thing for the people of Kherson would be not to open their doors,” said Yuriy Sobolevsky, the displaced first deputy council chairman of Kherson region.

The results of the referendums, expected soon after the voting, are almost certain to support joining Russia.

“We are returning home,” said the Russian-backed leader of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin. “Donbas is Russia.”

“All of us have been waiting for a referendum on joining Russia for eight long years,” said Leonid Pasechnik, the Russian-backed leader of Luhansk. “We have already become part of Russia. There remains only a small matter – to win [the war].”

Ukraine says it will never accept Russian control of any of its territory.

(VOA)

Publish Date : 25 September 2022 06:33 AM

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