Vote in Ukraine’s Russia-held areas stokes tension with West - worldsnews
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Vote in Ukraine’s Russia-held areas stokes tension with West

AP — KYIV, Ukraine On Tuesday, the penultimate day of voting took place in the Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine in predetermined referendums that are likely to be used as justification for Moscow's annexation of those areas.

The ballots are heightening tension between the Kremlin and the West, with Russia warning it could resort to nuclear weapons to defend its own territory.

The seven-month war is about to enter a perilous new chapter with the formal annexation of occupied portions of eastern Ukraine, which may happen as soon as this Friday.

The situation will drastically alter from a legal and international law perspective following the elections, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, with all the ensuing repercussions for the security and protection of those territories.

Since last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to raise the stakes by promoting Moscow's nuclear option as a last resort, despite recent humiliating military failures for the Kremlin's forces in Ukraine and their increasing cornering by Kyiv's counteroffensive. Other tactics to support Moscow's vulnerable position include regional elections and calling up Russian military reserve personnel.

Western friends have steadfastly supported Ukraine. The most senior foreign official to visit Kiev this week was France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who stated that Paris is committed to "supporting Ukraine and its sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The threat was expressed Tuesday in the worst language yet by Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, which is presided over by Vladimir Putin.

Medvedev said on his messaging app channel, "Let's pretend that Russia is compelled to employ the most powerful weapon against the Ukrainian dictatorship that has committed a large-scale act of aggression, which is perilous for the very life of our state. "In that situation, I think NATO will avoid interfering directly in the fight."

The Kremlin's nuclear threats have been disregarded by the United States as scare tactics.

Putin's nuclear threats from last week were addressed by Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor for the United States. Sullivan stated to NBC on Sunday that if Moscow followed through on threats to deploy nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine, Russia would pay a significant, though not specific, price.

The conflict in Ukraine continues to command international attention due to the severe shortages, rising food and energy costs, the impact of inflation on everyone's standard of life, and the rise in global inequality. Concern has only grown as a result of the discussion of nuclear war.

The Russian occupation of Ukrainian regions that Kyiv's troops have since reclaimed frequently leaves behind misery and hardship. Since March, some residents have been without gas, power, running water, or internet.

Much of Western Europe is experiencing an energy shortage as a result of the conflict, and German authorities believe that the disruption of Russian supplies is an attempt by the Kremlin to put pressure on Europe about its support for Ukraine.

Only hours after a leak in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea near Denmark was detected, the German economics ministry revealed on Tuesday that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline connecting Russia to Europe had seen a reduction in pressure. Both pipelines were constructed to transport Russian natural gas to Europe.

The issues are "extremely disturbing," according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, and will be looked into.

The referendum in Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine is dismissed as a farce by Ukraine and many other nations. The result is likely to be a triumph for Moscow.

The five-day vote, in which citizens were asked if they wanted their districts to join Russia, was neither free nor impartial. Images provided by people who stayed in the districts during the fighting showed armed Russian servicemen going door to door to coerce Ukrainians into voting. Tens of thousands of civilians had already fled the regions during the war.

Voting took place at voting places on Tuesday.

With Ukraine's victories on the battlefield, Putin may follow up last week's order of partial mobilization by imposing martial rule and closing the country's borders to all males of combat age, according to Russian media speculation.

In other respects, Putin's call-up backfired. It has prompted a significant outflow of males from the nation, sparked unrest in several Russian areas, and occasionally provoked acts of violence. The local senior military recruiting officer was seriously wounded on Monday when a shooter opened fire in an enlisting office in a Siberian city. After sporadic arson assaults on recruiting offices, there was a shooting.

Russian officials recently announced intentions to establish a military recruiting center directly on the border with Georgia, one of the main routes of the exodus, in an effort to stop the flow of men departing Russia to escape conscription.

Many Russian officials and lawmakers have admitted that errors were made during the mobilization, when military conscription offices were rounding up haphazard civilians without military experience who weren't supposed to be called up, and promised to promptly rectify them in an effort to appease public outrage.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, denounced the Russian mobilization on Monday once more, calling it nothing more than "an attempt to supply commanders on the ground with a continual stream of cannon fodder."

Zelenskyy promised that the Ukrainian military would intensify efforts to retake "the entire land of Ukraine" and that preparations had been made to fend off Russian use of "new sorts of weaponry."

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, stated on Monday that Putin had informed the president of Turkey last week that Moscow was prepared to begin talks with Ukraine but that it had "new criteria" for a cease-fire.

Russian military have maintained their attacks across Ukraine even while polling has gone on in regions that are under their control. According to authorities, Russian missile assaults overnight damaged homes and other locations in Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv's southern regions.