Ballots open in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia where what Kiev and the international community have defined as a ” farce referendum ” to ask to join Russia will be held from today until 27 September. Luhansk Mayor Sergey Haidai said in a Telegram post that Russian forces are forcing residents to vote and banning them from leaving the area. ” According to the information available, the occupiers are creating armed groups to encircle houses and force people to participate in the so-called ‘referendum’, ” he said. Furthermore, Haidai said that “those who do not participate in the vote will be automatically fired from their jobs”. In some areas, he added, “the authorities banned the local population from leaving the city between 23 and 27 September”.
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