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Russia-controlled regions of Ukraine hold referendum condemned by West

A referendum to become part of Russia began on Friday in a region of Ukraine controlled by Moscow, a Russian-backed official said.

The Kremlin-orchestrated referendum, widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as an unenforceable sham, is seen as a step toward Russia’s annexation of the territory.

Voting is taking place in Luhansk, Kherson, and the partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions.

A vote asking residents if they want their region to be part of Russia is sure to get Moscow’s way. That would give Russia a pretext to claim that the Ukrainian military’s attempt to regain control was an attack on Russia itself, dramatically escalating the seven-month war.

Voting will continue for five days through Tuesday.

The referendum follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for partial mobilization, which could bring about 300,000 Russian troops into the fighting.

Watch l heated scene over the mobilization proclamation in Dagestan:

Russian military mobilization begins with men being rounded up

A video has surfaced showing what Russia’s massive military mobilization looks like, mostly men from poorer regions being rounded up to fight in Ukraine. Tensions and suspicions are rising in Russia, and people are fleeing in droves.

Russian social media sites were flooded with dramatic scenes of families bidding tearful farewells to men departing from military mobilization centers as votes were being held in the occupied territories. In cities across the vast country, men hugged crying families before leaving as part of the conscription.

Meanwhile, Russian anti-war activists planned further protests against the mobilization.

door to door

Citing security reasons, officials set up by Russia in the occupied territories said election officials brought ballots to people’s homes during the first four days of the referendum and placed makeshift ballots near their homes. We are going to set up a polling station. Tuesday is the only day voters are invited to cast regular ballots.

Voting has also started in Russia, allowing refugees from the occupied territories to vote.

Military vehicles drive through the streets under a sign that reads “September 27, forever with Russia” in Luhansk, Ukraine, on Thursday. It is one of four regions that will hold a referendum on membership of Russia. (Associated Press)

Denis Pushirin, a separatist leader in Moscow-backed Donetsk region authorities, called Friday’s referendum a “historic milestone.”

Addressing the occupied territories on Friday in an online statement, the Speaker of the Duma of Russia, Vyacheslav Volodin, said:

In his nightly speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky briefly mentioned a “fake referendum” that switched from Ukrainian to Russian and directly told the Russian people, “They are being driven to death.” .

“You are already an accomplice to all these crimes, murders and tortures against Ukrainians. For Russian men, this is a choice: die or live, be crippled or stay healthy.For Russian women, the choice is to lose their husbands, sons and grandchildren forever, or still keep them from death. , from war, from one person.”

War Crimes Evidence: UN Rights Experts

In Geneva, a team of experts commissioned by the United Nations’ top human rights body to investigate rights violations in Ukraine on Friday found first evidence of war crimes in the country following Russia’s aggression almost seven months ago. said found.

Experts from the Ukraine Commission of Inquiry, mandated by the Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions: Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkov and Sumy.

They present the most extensive findings to date, citing testimony from former detainees about beatings, electric shocks, and forced nudity in Russian detention facilities, and critical executions in four regions. expressed concern.

Commission chair Eric Morse said, “We were surprised by the high number of executions in the areas we visited. The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements. He said his team had received and was recording “credible allegations of more executions.”

See l Mass graves show urgency for military aid: Ukrainian ambassador to Canada:

Putin calls in 300,000 reservists for Russia’s war in Ukraine

Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv, reacted to the news that Putin had mobilized 300,000 reservists to support military operations in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear retaliation.

He said the team had investigated two incidents of abuse of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces.

An unspecified number of Russian soldiers were found to have committed crimes of sexual or gender-based violence, with victims ranging in age from 4 to 82, Moses said.

Explosions at Melitopol in Mykolaiv

Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaged in a firefight as both sides refuse to concede.

On Friday morning, pro-Russian officials in the Zaporizhia region reported a large explosion in the center of Melitopol, a city that Moscow had occupied early in the war. The official Vladimir Rogov did not give details about what caused the explosion or if there were any damages or casualties.

An aerial view of the small village of Hrakove, destroyed on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, is seen. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have retaken villages as Russian forces withdraw from areas they had occupied since the early days of the war. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Authorities in the Russian-backed Donetsk region also accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the region’s capital city of Donetsk and the neighboring city of Yasnuvata.

Ukrainian officials have now reported a new round of Russian shelling in various parts of the country. He said an explosion rang out in the city of Mykolaiv in the early hours.

Valentin Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said Russian troops opened a barrage of artillery fire on Friday morning from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant into the city of Nikopol, across the Dnieper.

Russia-controlled regions of Ukraine hold referendum condemned by West

Source link Russia-controlled regions of Ukraine hold referendum condemned by West

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