Russia Holds Breakaway Polls in Ukraine

24 September 2022 01:42

Voting began in Russian-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia, Moscow-backed officials there said on Friday.

Russian State Tv released footage showing the preparations at polling stations, and people casting their ballots.

The vote which asks residents if they want their regions to be part of Russia is certain to go Moscow's way.

That would give Russia the pretext to claim that attempts by Ukrainian forces to regain control are attacks on Russia itself dramatically escalating the seven-month war.

The kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the west as shams without any legal force, are seen as a step toward annexing the territories by Russia.

The Moscow-appointed head of the Donetsk region Denis Pushilin, released a video of himself casting a ballot on his official telegram channel. The votes are being held in the Luhansk, Kherson, and Partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

The referendums follow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order of a partial mobilization, which could add about 300 thousand Russian troops to the Russian military.

The balloting will continue for five days through next Tuesday.