London: Two Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia later this week, and an aide of President Vladimir Putin said the vote would forever change the geopolitical landscape in Moscow’s favor. Will change
The move, which seriously escalates Moscow’s standoff with the West, comes after Russia overturned on the battlefield in northeast Ukraine and as Putin considers his next move in the nearly seven-month-old conflict, Which has caused the most severe east-west rift. 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Russian-backed, self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said the planned referendum would take place from 23-27 September.
In a post on social media addressed to Putin, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, wrote: “I ask you, as soon as possible, in the event of a positive decision in the referendum – about which we have no doubts – on becoming the DPR. part of Russia to consider.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian-established officials in the southern Kherson region, where Moscow’s military controls about 95% of the territory, said they had also decided to hold a referendum. Pro-Russian officials in part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region were expected to follow suit.
Ukraine and the United States have said such a referendum would be an illegal sham and made it clear that they and many other countries would not recognize the results.
Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who is currently deputy chairman of the Security Council, suggested ahead of the announcements that the consequences of such votes would be irreversible and that Moscow – which has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons – to carte blanche What to defend It will legally consider it its territory.
“Encroachment on Russian territory is a crime that allows you to use all the forces of self-defense,” Medvedev said in a post on Telegram. “That’s why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and in the West.”
He added that no future Russian leader would constitutionally be able to reverse his outcome.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said his chamber would support the two regions joining Russia if they voted to do so.
Washington and the West have so far been careful not to supply Ukraine with weapons that could be used to open up Russian territory, and Medvedev’s interpretation of what would legally mean from Moscow’s point of view, for the West Sounded like a warning of the future.
“They (referendums) will completely change the vector of development of Russia for decades. And not only of our country. The geopolitical transformation of the world will be irreversible once new regions are included in Russia,” he wrote.
It is unclear how the referendum will be held, as Russian and Russian-backed forces control about 60% of the Donetsk region, while Ukrainian forces are trying to retake Luhansk.
Pro-Russian officials have previously said the referendum could be conducted electronically.
The move comes eight years after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.