Four regions in Ukraine that are under Russian control have announced plans to hold votes to formally join Russia. The polls are slated to open this Friday (September 23) in Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Donetsk. The voting will last four days.
Separatist leader Denis Pushilin, who has been involved in fighting in Donetsk since 2014, said the votes will “restore historic justice” to the “long-suffering people” of the region.
“The faster we become part of Russia, the sooner peace will come,” pro-Russia activist Vladimir Rogov said.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council and former Russian President, vowed that Moscow would use “any means” to protect those regions if they chose to join Russia.
“After they are held, and the new territories are taken into Russia’s fold, a geopolitical transformation of the world will become irreversible,” Medvedev said.
“An encroachment on the territory of Russia is a crime that would warrant any means of self-defense,” he said.
“Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything,” Kuleba said. “Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilization.’ Russia has been and remains an aggressor, illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them no matter what Russia says.”