Separatist leaders in four Ukrainian regions say referenda on joining Russia have begun

Head of the central electoral commission of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic Vladimir Vysotsky visits a polling station ahead of the planned referendum on the joining of the Donetsk people’s republic to Russia, in Donetsk, Ukraine, on September 22. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Four areas of Ukraine occupied by pro-Moscow forces are preparing to hold referendums on formally joining Russia, in a move widely seen as a forgone conclusion in support of annexation.

The referendums, which run counter to international law upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, could pave the way for Moscow to frame the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive as an attack on Russia itself.

Polling is set to take place over five days from Friday to Tuesday.

The questions on the ballot vary slightly depending on the region. 

  • In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the question, presented only in Russian, will be: “Are you in favor of joining of the DPR to the Russian Federation on the rights of a subject of…

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