- Russia expresses overwhelming support for annexation
- Russia’s parliament may consider annexation on Tuesday
- Ukraine rejects referendum as illegal
- West prepares to impose new sanctions on referendum
ZAPORZHIZH, Ukraine, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Russia is preparing to annex large swathes of Ukraine within days, releasing its so-called poll results, showing four The overwhelming support of the provinces to join it. under the gun.
On Moscow’s Red Square, a stage with a huge screen was set up, with billboards that read “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye, Kherson – Russia!”
The speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament said that the merger of the four partially occupied territories could be considered on October 10. On the 4th, there are three days until the 70th birthday of President Vladimir Putin.
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Four provincial governments created by Russia have formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials see as a formality.
“It should happen within a week,” Russia’s ambassador to Moscow, Rodion Miroshnik, who calls himself the Luhansk People’s Republic, told RIA Novosti state news agency.
“The main thing has already happened – the referendum has taken place. So let’s say: the locomotive has started, it is unlikely to stop.”
To annex about 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory, Russia’s parliament, which is controlled by Putin’s allies, would need to hammer out and ratify some kind of treaty. These areas will be considered part of Russia, and its nuclear umbrella will extend to these areas.
Putin has warned that he will use nuclear weapons to protect Russian territory from attack.read more
“No one voted”
Residents who fled to Ukraine-held areas in recent days told PEOPLE that circuit officials pointed people at gunpoint and were forced to mark ballots in the streets. Footage taken during the exercise showed Russian-installed officials dragging armed men from house to house to pick up ballot boxes.
“They can declare anything they want. No one voted in the referendum except for a few who changed their positions. They went door to door but no one came out,” said 43-year-old Golo Pristan, from the Russian-occupied village of Kherson. Lyubomir Boyko said province.
Russia said the vote was voluntary, in line with international law, and the turnout was high. The concept of referendums and annexation has been rejected globally, as has Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sought to garner international support against annexation in a series of calls with foreign leaders including Britain, Canada, Germany and Turkey.
“Thank you all for your clear and unequivocal support. Thank you all for understanding our position,” Zelensky said in a late-night video address.
The United States has unveiled a $1.1 billion weapons package for Ukraine that includes 18 High Mobility Rocket Artillery System (HIMARS) launchers, accompanying ammunition, various types of anti-drone systems and radar systems. The announcement brings U.S. security assistance to $16.2 billion.
The U.S. also said it would also impose new sanctions on Russia as a result of the referendum, and the EU executive has proposed more sanctions, but the 27 EU member states will need to overcome their differences to impose sanctions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia needed to keep fighting until it took control of all of Donetsk. About 40 percent remain under Ukrainian control.
Russia has announced that it will mobilize some 300,000 reservists to strengthen its forces in Ukraine. Conscription has sent thousands of Russian men fleeing to other countries.
On the ground, Ukrainian and Russian troops are fighting fiercely, especially in the Donetsk region, where the governor said six civilians were killed in Wednesday’s Russian attack.
The Ukrainian military said earlier on Thursday that Russia had fired three missiles and eight airstrikes in the past 24 hours, carrying out more than 82 rocket salvo system attacks on military and civilian sites.
The Ukrainian air force on Wednesday carried out 16 airstrikes that damaged or destroyed some Russian positions, while ground forces destroyed two command posts.
Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said three people were killed, including a 12-year-old girl, after Russia shelled the region’s capital Dnipro, including a 12-year-old girl. 60 buildings were damaged.
“She was sleeping when the Russian missile hit and rescuers carried her out of the damaged house,” he said on his Telegram channel.
Reuters could not verify the battlefield report.
Gas leaks in the Baltic Sea for the third day in a row after a suspected explosion at an undersea pipeline built by Russia and European partners to transport gas to Europe.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, once Russia’s main gas pipeline to Germany, has been closed but cannot be easily reopened now.
NATO and the European Union have warned of the need to protect critical infrastructure from what they called “disruption”, although officials have not pointed blame.
Interfax news agency quoted the Prosecutor General’s Office as saying that the security services of Russia’s FSB were investigating the sabotage of the pipeline as “international terrorism”.
The Nord Stream pipeline has been a flashpoint in a widening energy war between Russia and European nations that has hurt Western economies and sent gas prices soaring.
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Reporting from the Reuters office; Writing by Michael Perry; Editing by Robert Bursell
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