Suspected referendum to annex Ukraine Reuters: Russia may intensify war

Luhansk, which originally belonged to Ukraine, was one of the triggers for the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Pro-Russians declared their independence as the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR). Pro-Russian propaganda billboards can be seen everywhere on the streets of the city.

(Reuters)

[Central News Agency] Reuters pointed out that Russia today intends to hold a referendum on the Ukrainian separatist forces it assists to pave the way for Russia to annex more land, expressing support, which poses a direct challenge to the West and may seriously intensify the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is now mulling over his next course of action after nearly seven months of fighting in Ukraine, including a severe setback in the northeastern battlefield, Reuters reported.

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Fifteen percent of Ukraine is now controlled by Russian-backed officials, who have unanimously called for a referendum on Russia's annexation, which appears to have been orchestrated.

These regions are the size of Hungary or Portugal.

The self-declared independent People's Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republics (LPR), Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions have all advocated for a meeting within 24 hours. referendum.

TASS news agency quoted the deputy speaker of the Luhansk People’s Republic’s parliament as saying that local Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists will hold a referendum on whether to join Russia from the 23rd to the 27th.

In addition, Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russian-appointed head of the Zaporozhye region, also said he had signed an order to hold a referendum on local territorial allegiance from the 23rd to the 27th.

Asked about the referendums, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "From the very beginning of the special military operation ... we have said that the people of each region should decide their own destiny, and the current situation as a whole proves that they want to control your own destiny.”

Reuters pointed out that if Russia formally annexes a large area of ​​Ukraine, Putin is bound to provoke the United States and its European allies to risk a direct military confrontation with Russia, the world's largest nuclear power.

"The talk of an immediate referendum is definitely a clear ultimatum to Ukraine and the West," said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R.Politik.

Ukraine said the referendum threat was "naive blackmail", a sign of Russian panic.

"Fear of failure is what it is, the enemy is afraid and instinctively doesn't know what to do," said Andriy Yermak, Ukraine's chief of staff.

"Ukraine will solve the Russian problem, a threat that can only be overcome by force," Yermak said.

Ukraine has said that it will not stop until all Russian troops have been driven out of the country; and said that Russia will never be allowed to control Ukrainian land.

Ukraine also called on the West to provide more and better weapons to fight the Russian army.