Vladimir Putin expected to support votes in occupied Ukrainian regions to join Russia

Vladimir Putin is expected to deliver a speech on Tuesday evening, Moscow time, in which he could support a public vote in the occupied regions of Ukraine which would lead to them being declared Russian territory.

If so, it would be a major escalation of what the Russian president calls a “special military operation.” The Kremlin could then decide that any attack on occupied Ukraine was an attack on Russia itself.

Putin was also expected to announce some form of conscription to support Russian forces.

The last time he gave a televised address to the nation was on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine.

World leaders, including those close to Putin, condemned the move in advance of even mentioning it.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who previously said Putin wants to end the war “as soon as possible,” added later on Tuesday that he would not recognize the results of any referendum.

The moves come as Ukraine has regained control of swathes of land in the eastern parts of the country which is believed to have panicked Moscow.

Referral threat

Earlier today, the Russian occupation authorities in the Donbass regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya said that referendums should be held immediately on which regions will become part of Russia.

They could come as soon as this weekend between September 23 and 27.

However, no region is completely under Moscow’s control. While most of the city of Luhansk is located, Ukraine used to fly its flag over some villages in that area.

Almost half of the Donetsk region, including areas outside the main city of Donetsk, is in the hands of Ukrainians,

Ukraine and Ukrainians regained territory in Kherson while the city of Zaporizhzhya and about half of the region of the same name remained with Kyiv.

In total, with the Crimea, it is believed that Russia controls 20 percent of the territory of Ukraine.

Even if the referendums were conducted fairly – and there is no indication that they will be – many former residents have fled these front-line areas. So the vote will only take a percentage of opinion in the regions.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian parliament passed a bill toughening penalties for desertion and disobedience in the event of conscription.

The White House said any move to hold elections in occupied Ukraine would be an “affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Meanwhile, Kyiv said the slim chance of negotiating with Moscow would disappear if referendums were held.

This article was originally published as Vladimir Putin expected to support votes in occupied Ukrainian regions to join Russia

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.