HomePoliticsSeparatists in Ukraine's Donbas to hold vote to join Russia

Separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas to hold vote to join Russia

Russian-backed separatists in the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic (RPL) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will hold referendums from September 23 to 27 to join Russia, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.

Earlier, Russian-backed separatist parliaments in the regions passed laws allowing such a vote to take place.

In response, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Fake referendums will not change anything… Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will continue to liberate them no matter what Russia has to say.”

The moves come as Ukrainian forces push back against Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces entered the strategic eastern city of Izyum 10 days ago, shortly after they began a new offensive east through the Kharkiv region.

also tuesday, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and now head of its Security Council, said he supported the incorporation of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions into Russia. Officials in the Russian-controlled southern region of Kherson also called for a referendum on Tuesday to join Russia.

In a post on Telegram, Volodymyr Saldo, the Russian-appointed head of Kherson, said he hoped the region would become “a part of Russia, a full-fledged subject of a united country.” Reuters informed.

The Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region could hold a referendum to join Russia in the coming days. Reuters reported, citing the RIA Novosti news agency.

Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014 in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions that make up Donbas’s key industrial area, and Russia’s recognition of the self-styled people’s republics preceded its full-scale invasion of the country in february.

Donbas then became the main target of Russia’s creeping offensive after Moscow failed to take control of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, at the start of the war.

In early July, after weeks of heavy fighting, Ukrainian troops withdrew from Lysychansk, the last major Kyiv-controlled city in the Lugansk region.

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