According to initial results released by the pro-Moscow authorities on Tuesday (27), more than 98% of voters who participated in the referendums held in recent days in the eastern and southern territories of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces supported their annexation by Russia.
With 16% and 14% of votes counted in the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, 98,05% and 97,79% of voters, respectively, voted in favor of incorporating the territories into Russia, Russian news agency “Interfax” reported.
In the Kherson region, with 12% of votes counted, 97,47% of those who participated approved joining Russia, while in neighboring Zaporizhzhia, with 20% accounted for, 98% voted in favor of membership .
Russian authorities said they are ready to add the territories to the country.
“No Our legislators, executive bodies and legal departments are ready,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
A Moscow parliamentary source quoted by the official Russian news agency TASS said. that “it is very likely that already in September 30 the incorporation (to Russia) of these territories will be formalized”.
Ukraine and practically the entire international community deny any legitimacy to the consultations, which were held in territories controlled by the Russian army, under threats.
“A quick pseudo-referendum in apartments and courtyards under the watchful eye of an armed soldier”, wrote Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Lugansk region tweeted over the weekend.
Haidai said he had received reports from people living in the occupied territories that the traveling electoral committees were accompanied by armed individuals.
“If they don’t open the door to the house, they threaten to break it down,” he said, adding what when a person marks “no” (to accession to Russia) on the ballot, committee members record this information in their “notebook”.
The UN, the European Union, the United States and many other countries have repudiated the referendums and said that they will not recognize their results.
The government of Ukraine has emphasized that, in addition to rejecting the results, it will not change its strategy on the battlefield, where the Russia suffered heavy defeats in the seven months of fighting, both in the north and northeast of Ukraine.
“Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will continue to do so, regardless of what the Russia says,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.