Moscow: Tuesday is the last day of the referendum on Russian-occupied Ukraine. This referendum is to be decided whether the occupied territories want to be part of Russia or not. Ukraine and its allies have called the referendum a sham. The voting is taking place in Luhansk, partly Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk region. Around 40 lakh people have been asked to take part in the polls. Election officials accompanied by armed forces reached door to door to collect votes from the people.
There is also speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin may announce the referendum votes in a joint session of Russia’s parliament on Friday. He is expected to announce the merger of these regions with Russia during his speech. If Russia annexes these regions, then let’s assume that about 15 percent of Ukraine will be occupied by Putin. It is believed that this move of Russia can take the war to a new and more dangerous level.
Officers arrived to seek votes with guns
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in a similar fashion in March 2014. When election officials reached people’s homes with soldiers to vote, people did not understand whether these guns were to protect their votes or to intimidate them. Serhi Haidai, the exiled governor of Luhansk, alleged that people who voted against Russia were being targeted. He said that this is a secret ballot, what is its credibility.
According to a BBC report, a woman told that officers arrived at her home in Zaporizhzhya to vote with a Russian soldier. He held a form and asked his parents to sign it. His mother asked, what if I do not choose the option to join Russia and fill the option not? To this he said that nothing will happen. Mother now fears that the Russian people will persecute her.