Russia plans to soon implement a plan in Ukraine that could be summarized with the expression Crimea Method: as in the case of the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, militarily occupied and later annexed by Vladimir Putin’s country through an accession referendum that was not recognized by the international community and which was marked by allegations of fraud, the Kremlin wants to hold votes in occupied territories in the neighboring country so that they become part of the Russian Federation within of the coming weeks.
Sources interviewed by Bloomberg informed that referendums on accession to Russia should be held by September 15 in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, and in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in southern Ukraine.
In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists had already sparked a military conflict by declaring two independent republics in
, Luhansk (a region now fully occupied) and Donetsk (half of the region under Russian control, in including the capital of the oblast).
The regions of Kherson (now completely occupied) and Zaporizhzhia (partially occupied); the capital of the oblast is still under the control of the Ukrainians) were invaded after the war started by Moscow in February this year.
In the occupied territories, the Kremlin follows the same pattern to justify the annexations : in addition to the argument of protecting “ethnic Russians”, the main reason given for invading Ukraine, Russia establishes local occupation authorities loyal to Moscow, imposes the ruble as the local currency, distributes Russian passports en masse, forces schools to follow the Russian curriculum and does a lot of propaganda – billboards with the message “We are with Russia” have become common in the occupied regions.
Last Monday (8), the leader of the pro-Russian administration Russia in the Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, signed a decree to start the process of annexation by Russia.
“I am signing the order for the central electoral committee to start preparations for holding of a referendum on the reunification of the Zaporizhzh region I was going with the Russian Federation”, declared Balitsky.
Last week, the Ukrainian Security Service reported that it intercepted documents from Russia regarding the annexation referendum to be held in Kherson.
According to a statement from the security and intelligence agency, a pro-Kremlin organization called Volunteers for Russia will organize the process.
“Under the supervision of the Russian specials, their members must spread across the region and simulate support from local residents for the occupiers, as well as help film stories staged for Russian TV,” the Security Service pointed out.
“To this end, the ‘activists’ plan to organize more than 140 simultaneous pro-Russian pickets, 30 of which will be held at the regional center . Kremlin-controlled media bodies and bloggers, which are being transferred en masse to the region, will cover the campaign,” added the agency, which also reported that the local administration was instructed by Moscow to create 20 “electoral commissions” led by local collaborators.
The Security Service of Ukraine pointed out, however, that Russian collaborators themselves report “that the people of Kherson do not accept the idea of ‘join’ Russia, actively resist and await the release of the aggressors”. Ukraine is planning a counteroffensive to regain control of the region.
Last week, the Russian-backed occupation authorities in Kherson reported that areas of the Mykolaiv oblast also occupied by the Russians are to be incorporated. to the region – that way, they can also be included in the Moscow annexation referendum.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that holding these referendums would make any peace negotiations with Russia impossible. .
“Our country’s position remains what it has always been. We will not give up anything that is ours”, declared Zelensky. “If the occupiers go ahead with the pseudo-referendums, they will close to themselves any chance of talking to Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will clearly need at some point.”