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Authorities installed by Moscow in four regions of Ukraine announced on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 keeps in need from September 23 to 27 annexation “referendum” of Russia, in the midst of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. An initiative that Kyiv immediately minimized.
“I thank all Ukrainian friends and partners for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia’s intentions to hold another pseudo-referendum,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his traditional speech, downplaying the “importance”.
Some pretty loud news came out of Russia today. But what happened? What was new compared to what was said before?
During the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with foreign diplomats and representatives of the arms industry, meaning it will stay on course. Russian commentators mentioned specter of nuclear war if Russia annexed these territories and if the Kremlin then decided that the war was taking place on its soil.
The separatist powers of Luhansk and Donetsk regions announced the votes, as did the Russian occupation authorities of Kherson and Zaporizhia (south). Those elections, scheduled for this week, will take place as Ukraine enters its 8th month of war.
“These fictitious referendums are not acceptable”judges German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the United States condemns the “simulacra” election on its side.
French President Emmanuel Macron criticized him before the United Nations General Assembly for “a return to the age of imperialism and colonies”, shortly after calling the announced polls a “parody”.
These voices modeled after the one that formalized annexation of the Crimean Peninsula (south) by Russia in 2014, condemned by Kiev and the West, were the subject of preparations for several months.
The timetable seems to have sped up Ukrainian counter-offensive which forced the Russian army to retreat to the northeast of the country. Russian officials have previously mentioned the date of November 4, the day of Russian national unity.
Separatist leaders in Lugansk were the first to announce that elections would take place this week, four days from Friday. They were followed by the separatist leader of Donetsk and the occupation leaders of Kherson and Zaporozhye. Everyone asked Mr. Putin for it to recognize the voting results.
“Blackmail” and Russian reversals
Ukraine warned this on Tuesday Russian threat would be “eliminated”condemned the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration Andriï Iermak Russian “blackmail” motivated by “fear of defeat”.
“The situation on the front clearly shows that the initiative is in the camp in Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. The head of diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba, in turn, assured that Ukraine will “continue to liberate its countries.”
These announcements come after at the beginning of September the Russian will turnMoscow’s military is withdrawing from the Kharkiv region in the face of pressure from Kiev forces, strong in supplies of Western weapons and equipment.
Russian diplomacy has also informed the French ambassador in Moscow that the continuation of arms supplies to Ukraine is “unacceptable”.
Counteroffensive in the south
The Ukrainian army is also leading a counter-offensive on the Kherson region in the south and another in the direction of the Lugansk region, which Moscow captured in its entirety in the spring at the cost of months of deadly fighting.
Kyiv thus hopes to recapture the village of Bilogorivka, which Russia cost Russia dearly in May when its forces were decimated trying to cross the Siverskiï Donets River there. Pictures from tanks destroyed traveled the world.
Twenty kilometers from Siversk, Ukrainian artillery bombarded Russian positions. “It feels very hard”Natalia, a grocer in that town, told AFP, “in the morning we come out of the cellars, we see burnt houses”.
In the village, exhausted Ukrainian gunners rest on their self-propelled gun covered by a tree. “We shot all night.we will leave to reload (ammunition, editor’s note) and then come back,” said one of them.
Referendum on “Historical Justice”
Mr. Putin, a meeting on Tuesday with industrialists from armament and security officials called for an “acceleration of production capacities” to “deliver the necessary armaments as quickly as possible” to his military. When he received the credentials of the new ambassadors, he insisted the merits of its “sovereign” foreign policy.
At the same time, the lower house of the Russian parliament approved a text significantly toughening prison sentences for soldiers who surrender to the enemy, desert or loot.
On Tuesday morning, former President Dmitry Medvedev and the current number two of the Security Council of the Russian Federation decided that the annexation “referendum” would be renewed. “historical justice”The Kremlin considers Ukraine to be historically Russian.
“Interfering in the territory of Russia is a crime, and if it is committed, it allows you to use all forces in self-defense,” he threatened.
For independent Russian analyst Tatiana Stanovaïova, holding these votes means that Putin wants to take “the right to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.”
Margarita Simonian, head of the Russian TV channel RTShe figured that this week would either be “a prelude to our imminent victory” or “nuclear war.”
Source: © 2022 AFP
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