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Donetsk and Luhansk demand rapid union with Russia

Faced with the advance of Ukrainian forces, a campaign for rapid accession to Russia began in the Moscow-backed separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. In the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, a body called the Citizens’ Council yesterday appealed to the local leadership to hold a referendum on the union soon.

A little later, in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Chamber of Citizens followed the same request, as reported by the Russian news agency TASS. The head of the administration, Kirill Strimosov, appointed by Russia, said that residents of the Cherson region are also demanding a referendum.

Preparations for such referendums have long been underway both in the breakaway republics and in the areas newly occupied by Russia. At Cherson, it was initially postponed to 4 November due to Ukrainian advances.

The head of the Luhansk Civic Chamber, Alexei Karjakin, said on Russian television that it was still too early to talk about a date. The background to the campaign is unclear. The Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have been controlled from Moscow on a very small scale since 2014. But when there was pressure for union with Russia, so far Moscow has reacted cautiously. This time, support for the desire to join came from the Russian parliament.

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