Four territories Ukraine considers to be its provinces have approved through referendums Moscow's initiative to join the Russian Federation, it was reported Tuesday in the Donbas region.
From a western viewpoint, it would constitute an annexation by the Vladimir Putin regime.
It is clear that an overwhelming majority of people have supported leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, Russian commander in Kherson Vladimir Saldo said.
Kyiv has labeled the referendums a farce on Russia's part, while President Volodymyr Zelensy's allies concurred as Moscow once again warned it could resort to nuclear weapons to defend them.
According to the polls, in the southern province of Zaporiyia, 93.11% of the votes were cast in favor of the annexation. In Kherson, 87.05%, while in the eastern region of Lugansk, local authorities reported 98.42% of affirmative votes and 99.23% for the Donetsk region. Voting took place between September 23 and 27.
In view of these results, the Russian Government can now start the parliamentary process of annexation of the territories, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dimitri Peskov explained.
Zelensky insisted Kyiv would defend its citizens in regions under Russian control. He has also stressed that Russia’s completion of the referendums would “make it impossible, in any case, to continue any diplomatic negotiations” with Moscow.
Russia started a military deployment Feb. 24 citing Kyiv’s failure to abide by the Minsk agreements whereby the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk were to be given a special status within the Ukrainian state, as the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states.