According to reports from the Kremlin, after being forcibly marched to the voting booth, people of the seized Ukrainian territory overwhelmingly chose to join Russia.
Unsurprisingly, the first partial voting results in Moscow’s phony referendums in four Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine supported annexation by Russia, according to Russian official news on Tuesday.
The tendency was followed by successive election hoax outcomes.
Over the course of five days, hastily planned elections were held in the four regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, which together make up around 15% of Ukrainian territory.
In what Ukraine and the West said was an unconstitutional, coercive exercise intended to provide a legal excuse for Russia to annex the four areas, Russian officials who had been placed carried vote boxes from house to house while being escorted by thugs armed with machineguns.
Any effort by the Ukrainians to reclaim them would therefore be seen as an assault on Russia, according to President Vladimir Putin.
He said last week that he was prepared to deploy nuclear weapons to protect Russia’s “territorial integrity.”
The general secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, blasted the “fake referenda” on Twitter, calling them “illegitimate” and a “blatant breach of international law.”
He added, “Just had a conversation with President Zelensky and made clear that NATO allies are resolute in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and right to self-defence.”
The votes, according to Kyiv officials, “will not have any affect” on the battlefield, where Ukrainian troops are in the lead, in response to the open land grab.
The essential point, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his French colleague Catherine Colonna, is that Putin’s actions and decisions will not have any impact on the nation’s politics, diplomacy, or military operations.
After all votes were tabulated, the local polling organization in the southern Zaporizhzhia area reported that 93.11 percent of voters supported Russian annexation.
But it was noted that this was only a preliminary finding.
Authorities in Kherson, another southern city where voting took place, reported that 87.05 percent of voters supported Russian annexation.
According to local officials in the pro-Russian separatist-controlled eastern province of Lugansk, 98.42% of voters chose annexation by Russia, according to Russian news sources.
According to Leonid Pasechnik, the head of the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic, it is “certain” that Lugansk will rejoin Russia.
After all votes were tabulated, the polling organization reported that 99.23% of voters in the Donetsk area of eastern Ukraine chose Russian annexation, according to news sources.
According to RIA Novosti, the state-run news agency in Russia, Denis Pushilin, the head of the Kremlin-backed separatist movement in Donetsk, said: “We have all desired this for a very long time.”
He praised the “colossal” outcome and declared: “We are reconnecting with our great nation, with magnificent Russia.”
While everything was going on, the UN said that it was “committed” to preserving Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” within “recognized” boundaries.
Kherson’s lower favorable vote might be explained by the fact that Russian authorities there have had to contend with a powerful underground Ukrainian resistance organization, whose members have murdered Moscow-appointed officials and intimidated people who were considering casting a ballot.
Volodymr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, seemed to rule out discussions when he said that Russia’s efforts to acquire Ukrainian land would result in “nothing to speak about with this president of Russia.”
“Any annexation in the contemporary world is a crime,” he said, “a crime against all governments that regard the integrity of their borders as essential to themselves.”
The predetermined result opens the door to a risky new chapter in Russia’s seven-month conflict, during which the Kremlin has threatened to send in additional soldiers and maybe deploy nuclear weapons.
Seven months after Moscow began its invasion of the nation, Ukraine has repeatedly warned that all possibility of peace negotiations would be destroyed if Russia annexed further territory.
According to Russia, it is up to the residents of the four areas to determine whether or not they wish to submit to Moscow’s sovereignty.
Prior to the elections, Russia took steps to “Russify” the seized areas, such as providing Russian passports and changing the curriculum in schools.
The upper chamber of the Russian parliament, led by Valentina Matvienko, said that if the referendum results were favorable, it may propose incorporating the four regions on October 4.
The “fake referendums” taking place in the seized regions, as well as Moscow’s increasing threats of nuclear war, were denounced by the foreign ministers of France and Ukraine.
The U.N. Security Council is debating a resolution that declares the vote results will never be recognised and that the four regions remain a part of Ukraine. Many Western leaders have referred to the referendum as a fraud. Russia will undoubtedly reject the resolution.
Russia continued organizing more than a quarter million extra soldiers to deploy to a front line of more than 1,000 kilometers while stepping up its threats that it may use nuclear weapons to protect its territories, including a recently acquired area.
According to Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin, “the situation will fundamentally alter from a legal standpoint, from the point of view of international law, with all the attendant ramifications for protecting those territories and maintaining their security,” after the voting.
At a joint press conference in Kyiv, Catherine Colonna of France and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine both gave speeches.
The basic foundations of the international order based on norms are threatened by Russia and its “unnecessary, unlawful, unfair war,” according to Colonna.
Since the beginning of the Russian assault, France has been at your side and will continue to do so until Ukraine regains its complete sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The votes in Russia to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, according to Kuleba, are only a “performance that won’t have any ramifications and impact on the politics and diplomacy.”
He continued, saying that the results of the vote demonstrate that Russia has no interest in holding peace negotiations. He pleaded with everyone to end this game.
Additionally, Colonna announced the arrival of a fresh team of French specialists to aid in the investigation of crimes in Ukraine. According to Kuleba, the negotiations also included the delivery to Ukraine of more CAESAR artillery systems from France.
When Putin meets both houses of the Russian Duma on Friday, the British Ministry of Defense classified it as a “realistic possibility” that he may proclaim the annexation of the seized territory.
The hurried drive to annex Ukrainian territory into Russia proper raises concerns that Putin may claim that integral Russian territory is under danger if and when Ukraine takes action to free it, invoking the justification of the use of nuclear weapons under Russian nuclear policy.
And one of Vladimir Putin’s attack dogs has once again rattled the nuclear sabre, saying that his master was not playing a bluff when he threatened the West.
Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev claimed that Russia has the right to deploy nuclear weapons “if the use of conventional weapons threatens the very survival of our state” in one of his now-regular rants on the Telegram messaging app.
And it’s definitely not a bluff, he said.
Following Putin’s bravado during a televised speech last week in which he declared a partial mobilisation of Russian men, the most recent nuclear annihilation threat was made.
He threatened to launch a nuclear attack if he believed that Russia’s “territorial integrity” was under danger during his address.
The Russian army being driven out of its own country by a well-equipped, battle-tested Ukrainian army armed with cutting-edge Western weaponry is plainly something that the Kremlin fears.
When asked about Western predictions of “catastrophic repercussions for Russia” if they utilized nuclear weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield, Medvedev dismissed them and said he believed them to be bluffs.
Even in this circumstance, I think NATO won’t enter the battle directly. After all, the North Atlantic Alliance places a considerably higher priority on the safety of Washington, London, and Brussels than on the destiny of the perishing Ukraine, which no one needs even if it is well-stocked with numerous weaponry.
Biden and Truss demand that Russia take its hand off its “nuclear button” while spitting the Atlantic bile.
Together, they often warn us that using nuclear weapons by Russia would have “terrifying” repercussions.
And the young London aunt [Truss] is fully prepared to start an exchange of nuclear attacks with our nation right now.
Analysts see the attempts to mobilize the Russian populace and hasten the passing of fake referendums in the seized territories as desperate gambits, which were sparked by public reservations expressed by Putin’s important allies India, China, and Turkey during a meeting two weeks ago.
Thousands of men have been called up to serve in the Russian army since the partial mobilization was announced, coupled with chaotic images of Russians fleeing the nation, demonstrations in the regions, and wild drinking and fighting by new conscripts.
The referendums fit a well-known Kremlin game plan for expanding the country’s borders and taking more aggressive military action.
Under the watchful eye of Russian forces, Russian officials conducted a comparable referendum in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine in 2014. Russia took Crimea as a result of the vote. As justification for his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Putin invoked the protection of Russians who resided in Ukraine’s eastern regions, their alleged wishes to join Russia, and an existential security danger to Russia.
Since the Ukrainians started a counteroffensive that regained ground and gradually surrounded his soldiers, Putin has been promoting Moscow’s nuclear option. On Tuesday, a senior Putin advisor intensified his nuclear rhetoric.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council that Putin chairs, posted on his messaging app channel, “Let’s imagine that Russia is forced to use the most powerful weapon against the Ukrainian regime that has committed a large-scale act of aggression, which is dangerous for the very existence of our state.” “I think NATO will avoid becoming directly involved in the crisis,”
The Russian government’s nuclear threats have been disregarded by the US as scare tactics.
The Kremlin has framed the referendums as free and fair, reflecting the people’s yearning for self-determination, and they asked locals if they wanted the territories to be absorbed into Russia.
As a result of the fighting, tens of thousands of locals had already left these areas, and those who stayed there uploaded photos of armed Russian servicemen pressuring Ukrainians to vote by going door to door.
Vadym Boychenko, mayor of Mariupol, who evacuated the port city when the Russians took control of it after a months-long siege, said that just 20% of the estimated 100,000 surviving people cast votes in the Donetsk referendum. The pre-war population of Mariupol was 541,000.
What can people do when a guy with an assault gun knocks on their door and requests that they cast a ballot? Boychenko questioned during a press conference when describing the methods used to force individuals to cast ballots.
Western partners solidly supported Ukraine and derided the referendum results as a pointless charade.
Putin’s use of the votes, according to British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, was “a desperate move.” During her visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said that France was “committed to defend Ukraine and its sovereignty and territorial integrity” and referred to the votes as “mock referendums.”
Putin ran into difficulty elsewhere when he ordered the mass enlistment of Russians in the military.
The order has caused over 200,000 men to leave Russia, ignited anti-war demonstrations, and provoked violence.
The local senior military recruiting officer was seriously injured on Monday when a shooter opened fire at an enlisting office in a Siberian city. Other enlistment offices have previously been the targets of sporadic arson assaults.
Approximately 98,000 Russian males have entered Kazakhstan in the last week, according to a data released by Kazakhstan on Tuesday.
According to the border and coast guard service of the European Union, 66,000 Russian individuals entered the 27-nation union from September 19 to September 25, a 30% rise from the week before.
Russian authorities attempted to stop some of the reservists who were escaping through one of the major routes of departure by issuing conscription orders near the Georgian border.
An enlisting task team was distributing notifications at the Verkhnii Lars crossing, where an estimated 5,500 automobiles were waiting to pass, according to the state-run Tass agency. Unverified rumors that males who are eligible for the conscription would not be allowed to leave after the referendum have been published by independent Russian news sites.
Russian shelling continued to kill people as Moscow tried to bolster its soldiers in Ukraine, perhaps deploying them to support its proxies who have been fighting in the separatist territories for the previous eight years. At least 11 people were murdered and 18 were injured in 24 hours by Russian bombardments, according to the presidential office of Ukraine.
In other news, Ukrainian officials announced increased progress in their effort to retake territory in some of the same areas where Russia is holding referendums to strengthen its hold.
In the east of the nation, across the Oskil River, Ukrainian soldiers allegedly continued their advance into the Donbas. The settlement of Koroviy Yar, which is 15 kilometers from the river, was entered by Ukrainian military in a video posted on social media on Tuesday.
Russian soldiers were still being driven out of the northeastern Kharkiv area, according to Ukrainian military intelligence, which also claimed to have retaken the important railway junction of Kupyansk-Vuzlovyi.
The first thorough examination of breaches and abuses perpetrated by Russia and Ukraine between February 1 and July 31, the first five months of Russia’s invasion, by a U.N. human rights monitoring mission also revealed the war’s heavy toll on human lives.
The head of the mission, Matilda Bogner, said that Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine and Russia itself seemed to have subjected Ukrainian prisoners of war to “systematic” maltreatment, “not merely after their transfer to locations of incarceration.”
Many parts of Western Europe are experiencing energy shortages as a result of the conflict, and German authorities believe that the Russian supply interruption is an attempt by the Kremlin to put pressure on Europe about its support for Ukraine.
Seismologists said on Tuesday that explosions shook the Baltic Sea before strange breaches on two undersea natural gas pipelines going from Russia to Germany were found, heightening the threat to energy supply. During an energy stalemate with Russia sparked by the conflict in Ukraine, several European officials and scientists suggested that sabotage may have occurred.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which are loaded with natural gas but do not transmit the fuel to Europe, were the site of the three leaks that were recorded.
Even if the political resolve to bring the pipelines online surfaced, experts at the Eurasia Group said the damage makes it doubtful that they would be able to transport any gas to Europe this winter.