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Russia starts "referendums" as part of annexation plan for eastern Ukrainian territory

CA, 23 Sep 2022
Voting began Friday in four Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions as part of President Vladimir Putin's plan to annex a large chunk of the eastern European nation, a move that Western countries have slammed as a violation of international law.

The voting is taking place in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, representing about 15 per cent of Ukrainian territory, and will run until Tuesday. It comes after Ukraine recaptured large swathes of territory in a counteroffensive this month.

Some residents living in the regions, as well as Ukrainians living in Russia, expressed support for the move.

"I have been eagerly waiting to join the Russian Federation because of recent events in Ukraine," said Marina Syomina, a citizen from Zaporizhzhia living in Khabarovsk, Russia. "Living here has been impossible since 2014."

Others have resoundingly rejected the referendums.

"I don't support the referendum, because how can you illegally tear away a part of (Ukraine)? Come to others' homes and do what they please," said Viktoriia Yarmolina, a displaced Ukrainian from the Zaporizhzhia region.

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