Sham or not? The ‘join Russia’ vote in four Ukraine areas, explained | World News - Hindustan Times
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Sham or not? The ‘join Russia’ vote in four Ukraine areas, explained

Sep 24, 2022 05:50 PM IST

Russia-Ukraine War: The voting comes at a time when Russia is on a back-foot as Ukraine's counter-offensive has recaptured territory that Moscow seized since its February invasion.

Russian-backed officials in four occupied regions of Ukraine have been holding referendums on whether the areas want to join Russia. The West and Ukraine has denounced the referendums as illegitimate and sham. The voting started on Friday and will continue for five days in two regions in Ukraine's east and two in the south- Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Russia-Ukraine War: A woman votes during a referendum in a mobile polling station in Mariupol, Donetsk.(AP)
Russia-Ukraine War: A woman votes during a referendum in a mobile polling station in Mariupol, Donetsk.(AP)

The voting comes at a time when Russia is on a back-foot as Ukraine's counter-offensive has recaptured territory that Moscow seized since its February invasion. A similar move was ordered by Russia in Crimea in 2014 and the vote was also rejected as sham by the international community.

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Is the process a sham?

The four regions involved in the voting are either partially or completely under Russian occupation with the process being denounced as illegal by the West and Ukraine.

Photos and videos widely shared on social media claimed that Ukrainians were being forced to vote in the regions although Russian media reported that officials were going from door-to-door with portable ballot boxes for the exercise.

Ukraine also claimed that it saw residents in the regions threatened with punishment if they did not participate in the process, Reuters reported.

Reports also claimed that Ukrainians were banned from leaving the occupied areas until the voting was over.

How will the results of the referendum affect the Russia-Ukraine war?

The voting would allow Russia to control the occupied areas allowing Moscow to make the ongoing Ukraine counteroffensive as an attack on Russia, something seen in 2014 in Crimea as well.

The referendum is also coming at a time when Moscow is faltering in its invasion of Ukraine that began seven months ago.

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