Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk
USA: Russia plans several mock referendums
08/12/2022, 7:44 p.m
The US government assumes that Russia wants to annex more areas of Ukraine. The model is the action on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. Accordingly, referendums are intended to make it clear that the areas presumably want to belong to Russia – Russia is entitled to any means.
According to information from the US secret service, Russia has started concrete plans for referendums in several cities in eastern Ukraine. The aim is to join Russia. A senior National Security Council official said in Washington that Russia wants to hold mock referendums in Kherson, Zaporizhia, the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and parts of Kharkiv.
“The Russian leadership has instructed officials to start holding referendums in these areas and also in parts of Kharkiv,” he said. “We have information that officials are reviewing candidates to serve as administrators of these areas. And that this could happen as early as the coming weeks.” He continued: “We expect that Russia will manipulate the results of these referendums to falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia. It will be crucial to expose this disinformation and to counter it if the Kremlin claims , the Ukrainian people want to join Russia.”
According to information from the US intelligence service, Russian officials themselves expected that the turnout for the referendums would be low, that the procedure was not legitimate and that the referendums did not reflect the will of the people. The heads of the separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as representatives of the occupation authorities in southern Ukraine, recently ruled out such referendums before the complete conquest of the Donetsk region. Currently, Russian forces control just over half of the province.
It is unclear how such a vote, which Ukraine would not recognize, should be organized. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had already warned that such votes would destroy any chance of peace talks.