Ukraine annexation referenda: pro-Russian authorities claim victory

Ukraine annexation referenda: pro-Russian authorities claim victory

The pro-Russian authorities of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia, Kherson, Lugansk and Donetsk regions on Tuesday claimed the victory of the “Yes” for the annexation by Russia during the “referendums” on the annexation organized by Moscow and denounced by Kyiv and neighboring states with Western support .

The next step is for the Russian parliament, which is scheduled to vote on a treaty formalizing the integration of the four regions into Russian territory in the coming days.

According to Russian authorities, after this parliamentary process, President Vladimir Putin could give a speech as early as September 30 to officially announce the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured in a video published on Telegram on Tuesday evening that Ukraine would act “to defend its people”.

“We will act to protect our people: both in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhia region, in the Donbass, and in the currently occupied areas of the Kharkiv region and Crimea,” Zelenskyy said in his statement announcing the results the pro-Russian authorities.

He said in a recorded message to the UN Security Council earlier Tuesday that Kyiv could not hold talks with Moscow after these “pseudo-referendums”.

“Russia’s recognition of ‘pseudo-referendums’ as ‘normal’, implementing the same scenario as in Crimea and another attempt to annex part of Ukrainian territory means we don’t have to argue with the current Russian president,” he said .

In 2014, President Putin signed a treaty linking Crimea to Russia just two days after the “referendum” organized by the Russian authorities there, during a ceremony in the Kremlin, ahead of the Russian parliament’s vote. This annexation was not recognized by the international community.

– “Action diabolique”, this blinking –

The Zaporizhia Region Electoral Commission said that 93.11% of voters voted to join Russia after 100% of the ballots were counted.

In the Kherson region, the pro-Moscow occupation administration reported that 87.05% of voters voted “yes” after all the ballots were counted.

Shortly thereafter, Lugansk also announced the victory of the Yes. In the evening, the pro-Russian authorities of the Donetsk region did the same.

“We are reuniting with our great Fatherland, with great Russia,” said Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin.

Ukraine’s allies denounced these elections, which were organized in an emergency given the progress of the Kiev armed forces.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs reiterated the United Nations’ support for “the territorial integrity of Ukraine” within its “recognized borders” during a Security Council session on Tuesday on these “referendums” on annexation.

The G7 have vowed “never to honor” the findings, and Washington has promised a “serious” response through economic sanctions.

The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, reiterated that the United States and its allies would retaliate with new and “tough” sanctions against Russia in the face of these annexations, which he described as a “diabolical act”.

Through the voice of its ambassador to the United Nations, China called for respect for the “territorial integrity of all countries.”

For his part, Vladimir Putin defended these elections as a means to “save the local population”, Moscow justified its invasion by accusing Kyiv of “Nazism” and staging a “genocide” of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

These votes concern more than 20% of the area of ​​Ukraine.

– Nuclear Threat –

Moscow claimed control of these new territories and again threatened to use nuclear weapons on Tuesday.

“Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary,” said former President and number two of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev.

A position confirmed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who recalled Russian military doctrine that provides for the possibility of such strikes in the event of an attack on Russian territory.

The Pentagon reiterated in the evening that Washington “takes these threats seriously”, but without “adjusting its nuclear position for the time being”.

For NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “Russia must know that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

At the same time, Russia continues to lead a mobilization of its reservists to recruit 300,000 fighters seeking a parade against a counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces that, with heavy shipments of Western weapons, seized thousands of square kilometers of territory in early September.

In Crimea, an AFP journalist saw lines of mobilized men, often middle-aged, in military uniforms, Kalashnikovs in hand, waiting their turn before boarding buses.

That recruitment campaign, which has been chaotically conducted in places, has forced many Russians to flee, an exodus confirmed on Tuesday by two neighboring countries, Georgia and Kazakhstan, while an influx can also be seen on the borders of Mongolia and Finland.

– Leaks at Nord Stream –

In addition, the Nord Stream gas pipelines, built on the bottom of the Baltic Sea to transport Russian gas to Europe, were hit by major leaks, the Kremlin conjured up possible sabotage, Kyiv “a terrorist attack” Russian.

The ongoing large leaks are due to “deliberate actions” and “no accident,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Tuesday night, for which they should last “at least a week” to exhaust methane escaping from underwater pipes.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also considered it an “act of sabotage”.


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