Occupied Ukraine Holds Kremlin-staged Vvote on Joining Russia - worldsnews
Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Occupied Ukraine Holds Kremlin-staged Vvote on Joining Russia

Ukrainian city of KYIV Voting on whether the seized regions of Ukraine should join Russia began on Friday. Kyiv and the West denounced the referendums as an illegal and manipulated attempt by Moscow to annex the regions in the east and south after almost seven months of fighting.

United Nations experts and Ukrainian authorities cited fresh proof of war crimes in Ukraine during the voting. Officials from the Kharkiv area said that hundreds of remains, including at least 30 showing indications of torture, were buried in a mass grave near the eastern city of Izium.

Residents of the Luhansk, Kherson, and partially under Russian rule Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions were urged to vote in referendums on whether or not they want their territories to become a part of Russia. It is nearly clear that the Kremlin will win in the polling being supervised by Moscow-installed officials, which is expected to last until Tuesday.

Residents of a tiny Moscow-controlled section of the nearby Mykolaiv region will also be entitled to vote, according to Russian-installed officials in the Kherson region. Until Russian forces completely occupy Mykolaiv, this little territory has been "integrated" into the Kherson region.

The referendum has been criticized by Ukraine and the West as a farce and an unlawful step toward the annexation of a substantial portion of the nation from the Russian border to the Crimean Peninsula. In 2014, Crimea had a similar referendum before Moscow seized it, a move that was viewed as unlawful by the majority of the international community.

In the first four days of voting, election authorities intended to deliver ballots to houses and set up temporary polling places close to residential structures, according to Russian-installed officials in the seized districts who cited safety concerns. On Friday morning, Russian state television showed teams of poll officials visiting residential areas, one of these teams being escorted by a disguised police officer holding an assault rifle.

The Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia district, Ivan Fedorov, told The Associated Press that Russians and Crimeans had been brought in to persuade locals to cast ballots.

"The Russians sense a huge hesitation and dread to attend the referendum and are forced to gather people," he claimed. "To create an image and an illusion of the vote." Few individuals open their doors to groups of armed troops, Russians, and collaborators conducting a door-to-door survey.

Voting began for refugees and other people from certain locations in Russia as well.

The vote was referred to as "a historical milestone" by Denis Pushilin, the rebel head of the Moscow-backed authorities in the Donetsk region.

The State Duma's lower house speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, addressed the regions in a message posted online, saying: "If you decide to join the Russian Federation, we will support you."

Serhii Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, said that Russian authorities had removed the names of those who had voted against it. Haidai also uploaded images of what seemed to be two vacant polling places and said that Russian authorities threatened to kick down the doors of anyone who refused to cast a ballot.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, made just a passing reference to the "fake" referendums in a speech in which he abruptly turned to speaking in Russian to remind Russian nationals that they were being "thrown to their graves."

He declared, "You have already participated in all of these atrocities, including the deaths and torture of Ukrainians. "Since you remained silent. as a result of your silence. You now have to make a decision. For males in Russia, this is a decision between life and death, between being disabled and maintaining health. In Russia, women must decide between permanently losing their husbands, sons, and grandchildren or continuing to fight to keep them safe from harm—from war, from death, or from a single person.

The voting is taking place while Russian and Ukrainian soldiers are exchanging fire and refusing to give ground in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Oleh Synyehubov, the governor of Kharkiv area, and Volodymyr Tymoshko, the region's police head, said that at least 30 of the 436 bodies excavated in Izium so far showed indications of torture. They claimed that among them were the remains of 21 Ukrainian troops, some of whose hands had been chained behind their backs.

Before being forced out of the area earlier this month by a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russian soldiers held Izium for six months. Residents said they were compelled to dig graves there, leading to the discovery of the woodland burial site.

As detectives seek to identify victims and determine the cause of death, the exhumations, which started a week ago, are about to come to a close. At the edge of the graveyard, a mobile DNA testing facility was parked.

Every person has a unique tale, according to Synyehubov.

In addition, Friday saw the presentation of evidence of possible war crimes, such as beatings, electric shocks, and forced nudity in Russian detention facilities. Experts commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council also expressed grave concerns about the killings the team was trying to document in Kharkiv and the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy.

More men in Russia began to be ready to fight in Ukraine as the referendums got underway. The partial mobilization of reserve personnel that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on Wednesday, according to the defense minister, may add approximately 300,000 troops.

As part of the call-up, men hugged their sobbing family members in cities throughout the huge nation before departing, which has sparked worries that a larger draft may follow. On Saturday, Russian antiwar protestors planned to demonstrate against the mobilization.

According to the presidential office of Ukraine, Russian shelling in nine different districts of that country over the course of the previous day caused at least 10 civilian deaths and 39 additional injuries.

According to the report, battle raged on in southern Kherson during the election, and Ukrainian army soldiers launched 280 strikes against Russian command centers, ammunition storage facilities, and weaponry nearby.

The Donetsk area, where Russian strikes targeted Toretsk, Sloviansk, and many smaller towns, also saw intense combat. On the western bank of the Dnieper River, Russian bombardment in Nikopol and Marhanets resulted in the deaths of two individuals and nine injuries.

Hanna Malyar, the deputy defense minister for Ukraine, stated that because it is unknown how many people perished during the three-month Russian siege of Mariupol, which ended in May, military deaths may exceed the 9,000 troops that were officially killed in combat.

Malyar said that despite this, Ukraine's losses were far lower than Russia's. Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, earlier said that 5,937 Russian combatants had killed.

Contributing was Lori Hinnant of the Associated Press in Izium.