Ukraine 'referendums': Soldiers go door-to-door for votes in sham polls

1 week ago 11

By James Waterhouse successful Ukraine, Paul Adams and Merlyn Thomas successful London
BBC News

Soldier casts ballot  successful  ballot boxImage source, Reuters

Image caption,

Russia allowed the media into immoderate polling stations, including this 1 successful Luhansk, wherever a worker formed his vote

Ukrainians person reported equipped soldiers going door-to-door successful occupied parts of the state to cod votes for sham "referendums" connected joining Russia.

"You person to reply verbally and the worker marks the reply connected the expanse and keeps it," 1 pistillate successful Enerhodar told the BBC.

In confederate Kherson, Russian guardsmen stood with a ballot container successful the mediate of the metropolis to cod people's votes.

The door-to-door voting is for "security", Russian state media says.

"In-person voting volition instrumentality spot exclusively connected 27 September," Tass reported. "On the different days, voting volition beryllium organised successful communities and successful a door-to-door manner."

One pistillate successful Melitopol told the BBC that 2 section "collaborators" arrived with 2 Russian soldiers astatine her parents' flat, to springiness them a ballot to sign.

"My dada enactment 'no' [to joining Russia]," the pistillate said. "My mum stood nearby, and asked what would hap for putting 'no'. They said, 'Nothing'.

"Mum is present disquieted that the Russians volition persecute them."

The pistillate besides said determination was 1 ballot for the full flat artifact building, alternatively than per person.

Although the grounds is anecdotal, the beingness of equipped men conducting the ballot contradicts Moscow's insistence that this is simply a escaped oregon just process.

Experts accidental the self-styled referendums, taking spot crossed 5 days, volition let Russia to assertion - illegally - 4 occupied oregon partially-occupied regions of Ukraine arsenic their own.

In different words, a mendacious ballot connected annexation, 7 months into Russia's invasion.

The self-styled "annexation" could pb to Russia claiming that its territory is nether onslaught from Western weapons supplied to Ukraine, which could escalate the warfare further.

British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said the UK had grounds that Russian officials had already acceptable targets for "invented elector turnouts and support rates for these sham referenda".

Mr Cleverly said Russia planned to formalise the annexation of the 4 regions - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - by the extremity of the month.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Ballot boxes being guarded by equipped soldiers successful Luhansk

A root successful Kherson told the BBC determination was nary nationalist effort to promote voting, isolated from an announcement connected the Russian quality bureau that radical tin ballot astatine a larboard building, which had been disused for 10 years.

Another pistillate successful Kherson said she saw "armed militants" extracurricular the gathering wherever the ballot seemed to beryllium taking place. She pretended to hide her passport, truthful she didn't person to vote.

The pistillate said each her friends and household were against the referendum. "We don't cognize however our beingness volition beryllium aft this referendum," she said. "It is precise hard to recognize what they privation to do."

Kyiv says the referendums volition alteration nothing, and its forces volition proceed to propulsion to liberate each of the territories.

Image source, Rex/Shuttershock

Image caption,

These women successful Luhansk voted successful a converted bus

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin's caller mobilisation of astatine slightest 300,000 other troops has caused galore Russian men of warring property to flee.

One young Russian antheral who near St Petersburg for Kazakhstan to debar the draught told BBC World Service that astir of his friends were besides connected the move.

"Right now, I consciousness similar it's a full collapse. I cognize lone possibly 1 oregon 2 folks that don't deliberation astir exile close now," helium said.

He said some, similar him, are travelling crossed the border, whereas others are person gone to tiny Russian villages to hide.

"The large occupation of Russia is that we didn't deliberation astir the warfare successful Ukraine successful February arsenic we deliberation astir it close now," helium said.

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