Pro-Moscow authorities in the Ukrainian territories where they started this Friday (23) referendums on accession to Russia are coercing citizens to vote in favor, according to Ukrainian sources.
“A quick pseudo-referendum in apartments and courtyards under the watchful eye of an armed soldier,” wrote Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Lugansk region, on Twitter.
Instead of going to polling stations, citizens in some areas are voting from home, “for security reasons,” according to pro-Moscow officials.
Haidai said he had received reports from people living in the occupied territories that itinerant electoral committees were accompanied by armed individuals.
“If they do not open the door of the house, they threaten to break it down”, he said, adding that when a person marks “they do not ” (to join Russia) on the ballot, committee members record this information in their “notebook”.
Furthermore, according to Haidai, people are informed that and they can vote even without presenting identity documents, as the committee tells them that they “already know who they are.”
An aide to the mayor of Mariupol stated that some polling stations in the coastal city were set up “in shops and cafes” and that there are no conditions for a secret vote, given the lack of booths.
“You mark the ballot under the close supervision of people with automatic weapons. This is Russian democracy,” adviser Petro Andriushchenko wrote on his Telegram account.
The mayor of Melitopol, in the Zaporizhzhia region, said that a group of residents of the Crimean peninsula were transported to there by bus to record propaganda videos about the supposed support of the population for accession.
“We can confirm that this referendum is nothing more than a farce, because there are not enough people in the temporarily occupied territories, there is no enough support,” declared Mayor Ivan Fedorov.
The result of the annexation to Russia will be that men of military age will be affected by the partial mobilization decreed on Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the war in Ukraine, according to Fedorov, who also appealed to all men to leave the occupied territories as soon as possible.
Popular consultations were announced in 20 ) of September by the governments of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and by the authorities installed by Moscow in the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Voting, which started this Friday, will continue until next Tuesday (27).