“Referendums” in Ukraine: Moscow prepares the annexation of several regions despite the international outcry – Ukraine-Russia War

  • 1 Elections, where and when?

  • On Tuesday, the pro-Russian authorities announced the holding, from Friday September 23 to Tuesday September 27, of “referendums” in four regions of Ukraine: those of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporijjia.

    These “referendums”, on the model of the one which had formalized the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, denounced by kyiv and the West, had been the subject of preparations for several months. But the timetable has unquestionably accelerated with the Ukrainian counter-offensive which has forced the Russian army to retreat to the northeast of the country. Because, initially, the United Russia party – that of Vladimir Putin – only targeted November 4, the day of Russian national unity, which commemorates a revolt of the 17th century.

    Be that as it may, for Nicolas Tenzer, a teacher at Sciences Po, “these polls are totally illegal and make no sense”. “The regions concerned are largely occupied, sometimes at war, and people cannot vote”, he developed with our colleagues from franceinfo.

    Since Tuesday and the announcement of these “referendums”, the Kremlin seems, in any case, to want to play the escalation to obtain the surrender of Ukraine. Another example: on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reservists to give new impetus to his offensive, saying he was ready to use “all the means” of his vast arsenal against the West.

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  • 2 With what objective?

  • N°2 of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, also ex-president of the Russian Federation (2008-2012), judged that these “referendums” would make it possible to restore “historical justice”, the Kremlin considering Ukraine as historically Russian. For his part, Vladimir Putin highlighted the “right to self-determination” of these populations, also saying “not wanting to leave them at the mercy of these barbarians”.

    For Jean de Gliniasty, former French ambassador to Russia, now director of research at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris), “it’s a way of sanctuarizing these territories”. And, once these “referendums” have been approved – which there is no doubt about – Russia could consider that the war is taking place on its soil: “And when we speak of an existential threat, it is the atomic weapon which is in game”, he remarks on

  • 3 What reactions?

  • In response, Ukraine promised to “settle the Russian question”. “The threat can only be liquidated by force”, wrote, on Telegram, Andriï Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, denouncing a “blackmail” on the part of Moscow, motivated by “the fear of defeat”. . For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky minimized the importance of these “referendums”, calling above all on the international community to “maintain the pressure”.

    What she did. Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, thus judged that “these fictitious referendums were not acceptable”. The United States denounced the “sham” elections and Turkey their “illegitimacy”.

    Tuesday, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, Emmanuel Macron, for his part, lambasted “a return to the age of imperialisms and colonies”, shortly after having described the announced polls as “parodies”. And, this Thursday, the French head of state called for “holding our line against the blackmail of Vladimir Putin”.

    Despite all these protests, the votes will indeed take place: “Nothing can prevent them”, underlined Vladimir Saldo, head of the occupation administration of the Kherson region.

    letelegramme Fr Trans

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