According to information from the US Secret Service, Russia has begun concrete plans to hold referendums in several cities in eastern Ukraine. The aim is to join Russia. A senior National Security Council official said today in Washington that Russia wants to hold fake referendums in Kherson, Zaporizhia, the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and Karkiv.
“The Russian leadership has instructed the authorities to start holding referendums in these areas and in Kharkiv,” he said. “We have information that officials are reviewing candidates to serve as administrators of these areas. That could happen in the coming weeks.
He said: “We expect Russia to manipulate the results of these referendums to falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia.” The Kremlin says that Ukrainians want to join Russia.
According to U.S. intelligence, Russian officials generally expected polls to have low turnout, the process was not fair, and the polls did not reflect the will of the people.
Leaders of separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as representatives of the occupation authorities in southern Ukraine, have recently rejected such referendums before the full seizure of Donetsk region. Currently, Russian forces control more than half of the province.
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