MOSCOW, (EFE).- Referendums on the annexation of Ukraine’s regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia to Russia, partially controlled by Russian forces, began today amid heightened security, local authorities reported.
The voting process for this referendum, which Ukraine and the international community denies any legitimacy, will continue until the 27th next day.
Galina Katyushenko, head of the election commission installed in the Zaporizhia region, confirmed to the Interfax agency that “all the members of the election commission, more than 5,000 people, have already started their work.”
He also explained that in the first four days, citizens can vote at their homes and in places specially set for it, and that general polling stations will be open only on the last day of voting.
In Lugansk, confirmation of the start of the referendum came through a statement: “Today at 08:00 Moscow time the election commissions have started their work throughout the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic”.
It was advanced by the Central Election Commission (CEC), a self-proclaimed entity recognized by Russia as an independent state.
Citizens of this territory can also vote from their homes due to security measures.
Ella Pamfilova, president of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, has already assured that she will do everything necessary to ensure that residents of “free zones” in Russia can take part in the consultation.
Moscow supported the referendum, although its army controls more than half of Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions, and almost all of Lugansk and Kherson.
Condemned by the United Nations
Ukraine has accused Russian security forces of falsifying voter lists in occupied territories and persecuting and abducting citizens loyal to Kyiv.
Various analysts agree that the Kremlin will accelerate the process of recognizing the occupied territories of Donbass and southern Ukraine as part of the Russian Federation, following the same script with which it illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
Yesterday’s referendum was condemned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Who recalls that the occupation of territory by force is a violation of international law.
During his speech before the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden also called the referendum a “fake” and accused Russia of seeking to “end Ukraine’s right to exist as a state”.