In four regions occupied by Russian forces in Ukraine, referendums on joining Russia began on Friday at 7:00 a.m. CEST, reports AFP. They will run for five days until Tuesday, September 27. They take place in the self-proclaimed republics in the east of Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk, and in the occupied parts of the Kherson region in the south and the Zaporozhye region in the southeast of Ukraine. TASR reports according to a CNN report. According to observers, it is unlikely that a hasty vote in areas of combat operations could be successful and fair. Moreover, due to extensive internal displacement since the start of the war, voter databases are out of date. For example, roughly half of the population left the Kherson region since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian authorities claim. Referendums were condemned by Ukraine and its Western allies, calling them “illegitimate” and “fraudulent”. The European Union will not recognize their results and at the same time indicated that it is preparing a new package of sanctions against Russia. In the Donetsk region, the referendum question is asked exclusively in Russian, CNN reports, because pro-Russian officials there call it the “state language”. The question also varies according to the specific area. For example, in the Donetsk region it reads: “Are you in favor of joining the DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) to the Russian Federation on the basis of the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation?” It will be the same in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.
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