It has been reported that Russian-backed officials in four Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine intend to hold referendums on joining the Russian Federation, which could lead to an escalation of the conflict. Voting will commence on September 23 and end on September 27.
Moscow plans to hold an urgent referendum in areas of Ukraine that are now under Russian control. The West has condemned this move. Several Russian-backed officials have called for a vote in 4 Ukrainian regions on whether to become part of the Russian Federation.#Referendum pic.twitter.com/C3gnZGff9o
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) September 21, 2022
It has been stated that the United States, Germany, and France will not recognize the results of such a “sham” vote. The NATO military alliance believed the war would escalate in response to the plans. A report by the Reuters news agency indicates that the quartet represents about fifteen percent of Ukrainian territory, the equivalent of the area of Hungary.
Western nations immediately rejected the idea of conducting legitimate and fair elections during a war. Russian plans for “sham” votes have been blasted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who has referred to them as a “parody” of democracy. “Macron told reporters in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly, that if the Donbas referendum idea weren’t so tragic, it would be funny.”
Ukraine Sacked the Russian Plan
Ukraine has dismissed Russia’s plan as a stunt intended to regain the initiative following crushing battlefield losses. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, tweeted that “sham referendums” will result in no change. As an aggressor, Russia has occupied parts of Ukrainian soil since the beginning of the conflict. Regardless of what Russia may say, Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories.”
As reported by Russian officials and news outlets, votes will be held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics of the Donbas region, which were recognized as independent by President Vladimir Putin shortly before he deployed troops into Ukraine in February.
During Moscow’s early offensive in Ukraine, the Russian army captured the Kherson region in the south, which will be fought over on the same day. There will also be a vote in Zaporizhia, which is partially under Russian control. However, only about sixty percent of Donetsk is under Russian control, and Russia does not fully control any of the four regions.
Russia’s Unequivocal Ultimatum to Ukraine
In response to a question regarding the referendums, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded, “From the beginning of this operation, we stated that the people of the respective territories would decide their fate, and I think that the whole situation confirms their desire to manage their own destiny.” As Moscow can claim it is defending its territory against Ukrainian forces under the integration of these regions into Russia, the conflict in Ukraine would escalate significantly.
According to Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political analysis firm R.Politik, all these talks about immediate referendums represent Russia’s unequivocal ultimatum to Ukraine and the West. Ukraine’s Western allies gathered at the United Nations for the organization’s annual meeting and condemned a recent Russian plan.