Eastern Ukraine separatists vote to join Russia | TNZT News


Two Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia later this week, and an ally of President Vladimir Putin said the votes would forever change the geopolitical landscape in Moscow’s favor.

The move, which seriously escalates Moscow’s standoff with the West, comes after Russia undergoes a battlefield reversal in northeastern Ukraine and as Putin ponders his next steps in a nearly seven-month-old conflict that has the most serious East-West rift. caused since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

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

In a social media post addressed to Putin, DPR head Denis Pushilin wrote: “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 as a part of Russia.”

Vote in Occupied Territory

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian-installed officials in the southern Kherson region, where Moscow’s forces control about 95 percent of the territory, said they had also decided to hold a referendum. Pro-Russian authorities in part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya region are expected to follow suit.

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Ukraine and the United States have said such referendums would be an illegal sham and made it clear that they and many other countries would not recognize the results.

Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president who is currently deputy chairman of the country’s security council, suggested before the announcements that the outcome of such votes would be irreversible and would give Moscow – which has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons – carte blanche. defend what it would consider legally its own territory.

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“Entering Russian territory is a crime that allows you to use all self-defense forces,” Medvedev said in a Telegram message. “This is why these referendums are so feared in Kiev and the West.”

Ukrainian soldiers ride atop a motorized artillery vehicle in the recently recaptured area of ​​Dolyna, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Sept. 14. (Evgeniy Maloletka/The The New Zealand Times)

No future Russian leader could constitutionally reverse their outcome, he added.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of the Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, said his chamber would support the two regions that would join Russia if they voted to do so.

Washington and the West have so far been careful not to supply Ukraine with weapons that could be used to shell Russian territory, and Medvedev’s interpretation of what de facto annexation would legally mean from Moscow’s point of view looked like a future warning to the West.

“She [the referendums] would completely change the vector of Russia’s development for decades. And not just our country. The geopolitical transformation of the world would be irreversible once the new territories in Russia are incorporated,” he wrote.

It is unclear how the referendums will be held, as Russian and Russian-backed forces control only about 60 percent of the Donetsk region, as Ukrainian forces try to retake Luhansk.

Pro-Russian officials have previously said referendums could be held electronically.

The move is said to be eight years after the Russians annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.


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