Russia begins talks on illegal annexation in territories it controls in Ukraine

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Moscow repeats the model implemented in Crimea in March 2014 that served as justification for the annexation of the peninsula

Despite the condemnations of the UN, the international community as a whole and especially Kiev, the four Russian army-occupied regions of Ukraine, Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, started referendums this Friday. According to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya ballots, the question is whether people agree with “no longer being part of Ukraine, declare themselves an independent state and join the Russian Federation?” You must answer these three questions in one by ticking one of the two boxes with yes or no.

In the case of Donetsk and Lugansk, enclaves that Russia has already recognized as independent states, voters will have to answer a single question, whether or not they agree to be part of Russia. Polling stations in the four regions will remain open until September 27, a total of five days.

Notably, those called to the polls on the front lines fighting against Ukrainian troops or, in the case of the civilian population, a significant proportion have been evacuated to Russia, where polling stations have been opened in some cities, although not all where refugees from the pro-Russian areas of Ukraine have been captured.

It is also unknown how the census was compiled and to what extent the number of registered voters corresponds to the demographic reality of each of the four territorial entities. Kiev considers this consultation a ‘farce’ that ‘will not change anything’.

Moscow’s stated objective is that, once the four Ukrainian regions are annexed to the Russian Federation, any counter-offensive by the Ukrainian army to regain the occupied territories could be considered an “aggression” against Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty . In such a case, the Kremlin has dropped the possibility of using nuclear weapons as the main argument for intimidation.

Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev this week encouraged pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels to hold talks without wasting time because, in his opinion, “they will allow Russia to deploy all of its self-defense forces”. Medvedev believes that once the consultations have taken place and the already annexed regions become part of the neighboring country, “invading the territory of Russia would be a crime and if committed, all troops could be used for legitimate defense” , perhaps even nuclear weapons, a threat he himself has expressed on several occasions.

The former Russian president and former prime minister said holding a referendum on accession to Russia was “of great importance not only for protecting the inhabitants, but also for the restoration of historic justice”. “The geopolitical transformation of the world will be irreversible (…) once new areas are integrated into Russia,” said Medvedev, the current vice president of the Russian Security Council, an advisory body that has effectively become the center of important decisions.

This consultation was long discussed and several dates were put forward, one of the proposals was on the 11th, which coincided with the municipal and regional elections in Russia, but later, due to the intensity of the fighting, it was decided to postpone see you later. But with the situation on the front lines even more complicated after the major Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kharkov region, the decision to call the referenda has been hastily taken. And it is being done on the same model that was carried out in Crimea in March 2014 that served as justification for the Kremlin to annex the peninsula.

Source: La Verdad

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