Occupied regions of Ukraine voted in favor of annexation to Russia
Ukraine’s four Russia-occupied regions said yes to joining Russia after five days of voting.
Eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, which together make up around 15 percent of Ukrainian territory, overwhelmingly voted in favor of annexation in referendums held between Friday and Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing Moscow-installed authorities in the regions.
Russia is expected to approve the results of the so-called referendums next week.
The United States which denounced the referendums as “sham”, is set to introduce a resolution at the UN Security Council, urging member states not to recognize any change to Ukraine. Washington is also preparing a new round of sanctions against Russia, should it annex Ukrainian territory, Reuters said.
According to the Russia-appointed officials, 99.2 percent of the people living in Donetsk said yes to joining Russia. Luhansk followed with 98.4 percent, Zaporizhzhia with 93.1 percent and Kherson with 87 percent, Reuters said. According to the BBC, armed soldiers went “door-to-door” in occupied regions to collect votes “verbally.”
Following the announcement of the results of the vote, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on international community to “respond decisively to Russia's violation of international law and order.”
"I urge you to act now,” said Zelensky, during a videoconference meeting with the UN Security Council on late Tuesday, that convened at the initiative of Ukraine.
“Russia's recognition of these sham referenda as allegedly normal, implementation of the so-called “Crimean scenario” and another attempt to annex the territory of Ukraine will mean that there is nothing to talk about with this President of Russia. Annexation is the kind of move that pits him alone against the whole of humanity. Such a clear signal is now needed from every country in the world,” Zelensky said.
State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament will vote whether to approve the annexation of the occupied Ukrainian regions, expectedly on Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin who needs to give a final approval to Duma’s decision, could address the nation on Friday, according to the Kremlin sources, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.