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HomeWorld2 Moscow-backed separatist regions in Ukraine plan referendums on joining Russia

2 Moscow-backed separatist regions in Ukraine plan referendums on joining Russia

Kherson in Ukraine’s south, which is predominantly under Russian occupation since the offensive, also wants a referendum, as does Zaporizhzhia.

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New Delhi: Luhansk and Donetsk, two Russia-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine, have announced plans to hold a referendum later this week on formally joining Russia.

The move will further stiffen Moscow’s standoff with the West, Reuters reported, adding that the move comes after Russia suffered serious reversals in northeastern Ukraine, bringing President Vladimir Putin’s battle strategy under immense scrutiny.

The Russian-backed, self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and neighbouring Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said the referendums would be held from 23 to 27 September.

DPR head Denish Pushilin put up a post Tuesday telling Putin: “I ask you, as soon as possible, in the event of a positive decision in the referendum — which we have no doubt about — to consider the DPR becoming a part of Russia.”

He added the “long-suffering people of the Donbas have earned the right to be part of the great country that they always considered their motherland”.

He said the vote would help “restore historic justice that millions of the Russian people were waiting for”, Associated Press reported.

Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who is currently deputy chairman of the Security Council, said: “Encroachment onto Russian territory is a crime which allows you to use all the forces of self–defence. This is why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and the West.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian-installed officials in the southern Kherson region, where Moscow’s forces control around 95 per cent of the territory, also said they wanted a referendum. Pro-Russian authorities in part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region were expected to follow.

In early August, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had ruled out talks with Moscow if it proceeded with referendums in occupied areas. He had said in his address to the nation: “Our country’s position remains what it always has been. We will give up nothing of what is ours. If the occupiers proceed along the path of pseudo-referendums they will close for themselves any chance of talks with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will clearly need at some point.”

Russia and Ukraine had several sessions of talks to end the offensive that Russia launched on 24 February as a “special military operation”. But matters ground to a halt at the end of March as both sides blamed each other for it.


Also read: Russia’s recent losses in Ukraine war may make Middle East nations to think about realignment


 

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