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With Kalashnikov guns, Russia promotes ‘fake’ votes in Ukraine

Luhova spoke with 11 people still living in the Kherson area who said they pretended not to be home or left their apartments for long periods while armed groups patrolled. “People are frightened,” said Ruhova.

Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Nikitenko said he had spoken with three friends over the past two days, but the traveling group also visited schools, hospitals and other workplaces to ensure that the authorities would “gather a certain number of votes.” I can,” he said.

In a late-night speech on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the referendum a “fake,” echoing Western leaders.

“These are not just crimes against international or Ukrainian law,” Zelensky said. “These are crimes against the nation, against certain people.”

Zelensky also said that occupation authorities have begun mobilizing local Ukrainians to fight the Kyiv army.

But if they were conscripted, Zelensky told them to “interfere with enemy activity, interfere with Russian operations, provide important information about the occupiers,” and at the first opportunity “switch to our position.” ” he called out.

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Meanwhile, Putin’s “partial mobilization” of Russian men to bolster Ukraine’s beleaguered army, announced last week, appeared to face obstacles.

Numerous videos of newly formed draftsmen staggering drunk, throwing punches, shouting at military officers, accusing them of being told to line up, and swearing at rusty Kalashnikovs being handed over in the Primorye region of the Far East It came out.

On Saturday, Chechen leader and close ally of Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov, appeared to acknowledge the problem of poor quality recruits, saying half of Russia’s 5 million police and law enforcement officers could be replaced. He said he should be drafted into the army.

Also on Saturday, at least 740 people were arrested in protests across the country, according to rights watchdog OVD-Info, with more protests expected in Moscow and St. Petersburg.Military enlistment office in Krasnoyarsk region, according to local media ChP Kanskwas one of at least 10 people attacked in cities and towns across Russia since the mobilization was announced.

At the same time, Putin signed a law tightening penalties for desertion and “voluntary surrender” during military campaigns. He also quickly obtained Russian citizenship for foreigners who took part in the war with Ukraine.But on Wednesday the Moscow embassy of these countries declared it illegal to participate in a foreign war. warned the public.

Ukrainian officials said their forces continued to advance in the south and east of the country, but could not confirm that information because journalists are prohibited from reporting from a front-line position.

On Friday, Zelensky said the Russian military had sent Iran-made drones to attack the Dnipropetrovsk region in southeastern Ukraine and the city of Odessa on the Black Sea. Earlier, US officials said Tehran had supplied combat drones to Russia.

Zelensky promised a “severe response” and “commensurate results” for “collaborating with evil.” Ukrainian authorities announced on Friday that they had stripped the Iranian ambassador to Ukraine and drastically reduced the number of staff at the Iranian embassy in Kyiv.

Tehran officials said on Saturday they regretted the move by Ukrainians based on “unconfirmed reports” and “media manipulation”.

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As the staged referendum progresses, Russian officials have followed strategies used in previous organized referendums, including a similar staged referendum setting Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. I tried to give the process an appearance of legitimacy.

Russian media have released images of people queuing outside polling stations, but Ukrainian officials said they either came by bus from elsewhere or were soldiers in plain clothes. The International Observer congratulated the proceedings. One of them, Eliseo Beltrasi from Italy, observed the 2018 general elections held in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

A day later, election officials said about 15% of all eligible voters in the Russian-controlled territories had voted. RIA Novosti report.

Lukhova said her contacts “cried and cried and cried” because of the staged referendum and the prospect of Russia trying to absorb the region.

“Russia is trying to portray a situation that does not exist in Kherson,” she said. “People gritted their teeth and clenched their fists, waiting for the Ukrainian army to liberate the city.”

Washington Post

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With Kalashnikov guns, Russia promotes ‘fake’ votes in Ukraine

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