War in Ukraine: Russia votes for annexed territories, the G7 claims that it will “never recognize” them
Posted on 23.09.2022
At the same time, the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists continued in Russia, the Kremlin seeking a parade against the advances of the Ukrainian army which, with the strength of Western arms deliveries, claimed new territorial gains on Friday 23 September.
In a joint statement, the G7 countries (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan and United Kingdom) called on “all countries to unequivocally reject these fictitious referendums”, “simulacra” who “have neither legal effect nor legitimacy”.
On the side of the UN, a commission of inquiry has recognized that “war crimes have been committed in Ukraine”, referring in particular to Russian bombardments on civilian areas, executions, acts of torture, ill-treatment as well as sexual violence.
International criticism did not prevent Moscow from pursuing its plans for “referendums” in Ukraine.
The votes, which began at 05:00 GMT, will end on September 27 in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (east), and in areas under Russian occupation in the regions of Kherson and Zaporijjia (south).
kyiv castigates Iran
Hundreds of polling stations must be opened in the four territories, and others in Russia to allow displaced people to vote. “We hope that after the referendum, they will stop bombing us, that we will have peace and order”Vladimir Choutov, originally from the Lugansk region and who came to vote at the Donetsk representation in Moscow, told AFP.
In Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, the authorities organized demonstrations in support of the votes with great reinforcements of flags and slogans. “These referendums are a step towards this peace”, said Viktor Souvorov, 40, present at the Moscow rally, a stone’s throw from Red Square.
In Ukraine, in Chevchenkové, the Ukrainian official Andriï Kanachevitch protested to AFP against “illegal” elections. “To be honest, it sucks,” he said.
Without going so far as to denounce the elections, China, Moscow’s closest partner, nevertheless went there with its criticism, calling for respect for “the territorial integrity of all countries”.
Iran, for its part, found itself in the crosshairs of the Ukrainian authorities, who blame it for its arms deliveries to Moscow and in particular drones, which killed one person in a Russian attack on the port of Odessa on Friday.
castigating behavior ” hostile “, Kyiv has decided to withdraw accreditation from the Iranian ambassador to Ukraine and to “significantly reduce” the staff of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv.
On the ground, Ukraine claimed Friday the capture of Yatskivka in the Donetsk region (east). She also says she advanced south of Bakhmout, an eastern town that the Russian army has been trying to take for months without success.
On the separatist side, the head of Donetsk Denis Pushilin spoke of a situation “extremely difficult” north of his town.
In the Lugansk region, another separatist official, Andrei Marochko, reported on Ukrainian bombardments, noting that the forces of kyiv “want to do everything to derail the referendum”.
The hasty announcement of these elections was accompanied by that, Wednesday, by Mr. Putin to decree the immediate mobilization of at least 300,000 reservists. He also threatened to use all of Russia’s arsenal, which includes nuclear weapons.
If television broadcast almost no images of the mobilization, several videos on social networks showed men with closed faces getting on buses after kissing their loved ones, some in tears.
Reached by AFP, Konstantin, 29, said he received his summons at his parents’ home. ” I am still shocked “he said. “I’m not going to hide but I’m not jumping for joy either”. Others were given a summons after being arrested during demonstrations against the mobilization on Wednesday.
“I expected the usual (procedures): the arrest, the police station, the court. But being told: ‘Tomorrow you are going to war’, (…) that was a surprise”told AFP Mikhail Suetin, 29, who refused to sign the document.
The announcement of the mobilization also prompted many Russians to leave the country, causing an influx at the borders, without it being possible to quantify the extent of the phenomenon.
Finland has decided to take measures to limit “significantly” the entry of Russian citizens on its soil, while the Baltic countries and Poland have already been drastically curbing entry for weeks.