Seven months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia began voting on Friday, September 23, in a referendum on whether to annex areas it controls in whole or in part.
The elections, rejected in advance by Kyiv and its Western allies, will take place over five days until Tuesday in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk (in the east), as well as in the Russian-occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia. )
That evening, in his daily address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the rest of the world to condemn the proposals. “The world will respond to fake polls with tremendous precision” And these “Unreservedly Condemned”He promised.
In his echo, US President Joe Biden warned Russia that the US would “Working with [leurs] Allies and partners to take swift and severe additional economic measures against Russia” If it annexes territories in Ukraine.
“Russia’s referendum is a sham, a pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force”Condemnation, in a press release, Mr. “We know these polls will be manipulated.”White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.
In a joint statement, the G7 countries — Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — “All countries should unequivocally reject these fictitious referendums”of “Simulacra” WHO “of no legal effect or legality”.
Demonstrations were held in Russia in support of the vote
Without going so far as to condemn the polls, China, Moscow’s closest ally, began to criticize with a courtesy call. “Territorial Integrity of All Nations”.
Hundreds of polling stations are set to open in four regions, while others allow people displaced in Russia to vote.
“We hope that after the referendum, they will stop bombing us and we will have peace and order.”Agence France-Presse (AFP) Vladimir Sotov told Agence France-Presse (AFP) from the Luhansk region who came to vote at the Donetsk delegation in Moscow.
In the Russian capital, but also in St. Petersburg and other cities, authorities organized demonstrations in support of the vote with numerous flags and slogans. “This referendum is a step towards this peace”Viktor Sovorov, 40, threw a stone from Red Square at a Moscow rally.
In Ukraine, in Shevchenko, Ukrainian official Andriy Kanasevych rose with AFP against the elections. “illegal”. “Frankly, it’s bullshit.”He complains.
Almost 450 bodies were exhumed at Izioum
“The annexation of territories belonging to one state by another as a result of the threat or use of force is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law.”United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry has also agreed to this “War crimes committed in Ukraine”It specifically mentions Russian bombings of civilian areas, executions, torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence.
At the same time, Ukrainian authorities announced that they had exhumed 447 bodies from a mass grave in Isium, a town retaken from the Russians in the northeast, including 425 civilians – including 5 children – and 22 soldiers. Ukrainians.
Kharkiv Region Governor Ole Sinehobov said “Most show signs of violent death and thirty show signs of torture”, Bound hands, broken limbs or “mutilated genitalia”. Moscow denies committing these crimes and finds the tombs at Isium a “lie”.
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