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In the Zaporizhia region: Russians push ahead with referendum in southern Ukraine

In the Zaporizhia region
Russians push referendum in southern Ukraine

Although the provincial capital of Zaporizhia is under Ukrainian control, the occupiers want to incorporate the region into Russia by referendum. President Zelenskyy warned that such a vote would mean the end of all peace talks with the Kremlin.

In the Russian-occupied part of the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia, the go-ahead has officially been given for a referendum on accession to Russia. “I am signing a decree to the Central Electoral Commission to start and prepare a referendum on the unification of the Zaporizhia Oblast with the Russian Federation,” said the region’s governor, Evgeny Balitsky, who was installed by the Russian troops, according to the state agency Ria Novosti.

Balizkis spoke at the “We are together with Russia” forum organized by the occupying forces in Melitopol – the region’s second largest city with around 150,000 inhabitants. The regional capital, Zaporizhia, with around 700,000 inhabitants, is still under Kyiv’s control. It is unclear how such a vote, which Ukraine would not recognize, will be organized.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already warned that referendums organized by the occupying forces would end all chances of peace talks with Russia. The Kremlin had already annexed Crimea in 2014, citing an internationally unrecognized referendum. Balizki did not give a specific date for the planned vote. In the past, the beginning of September was discussed as a possible period.

Balizki himself is from Ukraine and moved to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia, in 2018. In the course of the Russian war of aggression, which had been going on for almost half a year, he moved back to Melitopol and was appointed military governor.

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