Russia began referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine (in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, representing about 15% of Ukrainian territory). The referendums were denounced as illegal and illegitimate by Ukraine and the West, according to Reuters, Agerpres read.
Voting is due to end on Tuesday. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the subsequent decision on Russia’s annexation of the respective regions would be „swift”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists for the war in Ukraine, and by annexing the four regions, he could present the Ukrainian counter-offensive as an attack against Russia.