Russia was on the verge of an annexation in just days of a large part of Ukraine. After what Western countries and Ukraine denounced as illegal, sham elections that were held under gunpoint, Russia released the “vote totals” showing overwhelming support from four of its provinces to join.
Moscow’s Red Square hosts a stage with large video screens and billboards advertising “Donetsk”, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia or Zaporizhzhia, Russia!”
Three days before President Vladimir Putin turned 70, the head Russia’s Upper House said that Russia might be open to the possibility of incorporating the four areas partially occupied.
Four Russian-installed governments in the four provinces asked Putin for their inclusion in Russia. Russian officials claim that this request is a formality.
Rodion Miroshnik, Russia-installed ambassador to Moscow of self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic stated that “this should occur within a few days.”
“The referendum is over, and the main event has already occurred. Let’s just say the locomotive has already started and it is unlikely to slow down.
Putin allies control the Russian parliament and it will need to approve and ratify a treaty to annexe these territories. They account for around 15% of Ukraine. These areas will be part of Russia and will be covered by the nuclear umbrella.
Putin stated that he would use nukes to defend Russian territory from attack.
Residents who fled Ukraine-held areas recently spoke out about being forced to vote by officers at gunpoint. Russian-installed officials moved the ballot boxes with armed men from one house to the next.
“They can declare anything they want. Except for a few people who switched sides, no one voted in the referendum. They moved from one place to the other, but nobody came out,” Lyubomir Boko (43), a Russian-occupied Kherson resident, stated.
Russia claims that voting was voluntary and in compliance with international laws. This is why there was such a high turnout. The idea of annexes was rejected globally, as was the Russian 2014 takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy (the president of Ukraine) sought international support for annexed nations in a series call with foreign leaders, including from Canada, Britain and Germany.
“Thank you for your unambiguous and clear support. Zelenskiy expressed gratitude to everyone who understood our position during a late-night video.
The United States has announced a $1.1 billion weapons package for Ukraine. It includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, munitions and various counter-drone and radar systems. This announcement brings the US’ security assistance up to $16.2 billion.
In response to the referendums, the United States stated that it would also impose additional sanctions against Russia. The European Union executive proposed additional sanctions. To implement the sanctions, the bloc’s 27 members will have to overcome their differences .
Dmitry Peskov (a Kremlin spokesperson) stated that Russia would need to fight until it takes complete control over Donetsk. About 40% of Donetsk remains under Ukrainian control.
Russia announced it would mobilize 300,000. reservists to support its forces in Ukraine. After the conscription drive, thousands fled Russia with their Russian soldiers.
This is the battleground of the Ukrainian and Russian forces. Donetsk was where six civilians were killed in an attack by Russia on Wednesday.
According to the Ukrainian military’s estimates, Russia launched eight missiles and more that 80 air strikes within the past 24 hours.
According to the statement, 16 strikes were carried out by the Ukrainian air force on Wednesday in order to destroy or damage a number of Russian positions. Ground forces destroyed two command posts.
Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk. Three people were killed in the Russian bombardment on Dnipro’s capital, he said. A 12-year-old girl was also among those killed. More than 60 other buildings were also damaged.
He claimed that rescuers had brought her out of her house. She was just sleeping when the Russian missile struck.
Reuters could not verify battlefield reporting.
Explosions in underground pipelines used to transport natural gas from Russia and European countries to Europe caused a third day of leaking gas.
Nord Stream 1 was once a main route between Russia and Germany. It was shut down, but it can’t now be opened.
NATO and the European Union warned about the need to protect critical infrastructure from “sabotage”, however officials refused to accept responsibility.
Interfax reported that Russia’s FSB security service is investigating the pipeline damage as “international terrorism”.
The Nord Stream pipelines represent a major flashpoint in the growing energy war between Russia and European countries. This has led to Western economies suffering and gas prices soaring.
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