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Ukraine says referendum plans in Russian-occupied areas stem from 'fear of defeat'

Russian news agency TASS reported that the People's Council in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic has agreed to hold a "referendum on the entry of the DPR into the Russian Federation" starting later this week. 

The leader of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, said that the voting will be in "a mixed format - face-to-face and remote - taking into account security issues. One day will be allotted for in-person voting," he said, according to TASS.

The council is an unelected body. 

The leader of the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, also signed a law on a referendum "on the entry of the Republic into the Russian Federation," according to the Luhansk Media Center.

Pasechnik's move was announced by the chair of the People's Council of the LPR, Denis Miroshnichenko, soon after the council unanimously proposed the referendum. 

"The head of the LPR has signed the law on a referendum on the issue of joining the Russian Federation as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation," Miroshnichenko said.

Miroshnichenko said the referendum would be held from Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, according to the local media portal Lug-Info. It quoted him as saying the question on the ballot would be: "Are you in favor of the LPR joining the Russian Federation as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation?"

Lug-Info said that according to the text of the law, "the Central Election Commission of the LPR will determine the results of the referendum on the Republic's entry into the LPR no later than five days after the last voting day."

This week has seen sudden moves in Donetsk, Luhansk and occupied parts of Kherson to hold referendums on joining Russia. Those moves have received swift support from Russian politicians. 

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