Monday, November 28, 2022

Ukraine war latest: Russia declares nearly 100% support in sham annexation votes

by Asami TerajimaSeptember 27, 2022 11:22 pm

Ukraine war latest: Russia declares nearly 100% support in sham annexation votesPeople cast their votes in illegal referendums on joining Russia at a hospital in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk Oblast on Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Key developments on Sept. 27

  • Sham referendums end in Ukraine’s partially occupied regions
  • Moscow says all people under occupation want to join Russia
  • Ukraine liberated Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi,  Kharkiv Oblast
  • Russia fires 2 missile strikes, 6 airstrikes across Ukraine

Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov confirmed on Sept. 27 that the Ukrainian army had crossed the Oskil River, slashing Russian defenses.

The liberation of Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi leaves just below six percent of Kharkiv Oblast occupied by Russia, Syniehubov said on TV. 

Reclaiming the village allows Ukraine to get a foothold on the eastern side of the Oskil River, where fighting continues. Since the start of the Kharkiv counteroffensive, Ukraine liberated 454 settlements across the region, Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said during a briefing on Sept. 27.

Amid Kyiv's gains, Russia declared that nearly 100% of the people living in the occupied territories of Ukraine – Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson oblasts – voted to join Russia in sham referendums. 

The so-called vote at gunpoint has been declared null and void by the international community.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely announce the annexation of the Moscow-occupied territories during his address to parliament on Sept. 30. 

Russian state-controlled news outlet RIA Novosti wrote that Russia might formally annex the partially occupied regions on Oct. 4.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sept. 27 that Ukraine "would be able to use" the weapons provided by the U.S. to regain its territory, including in Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson oblasts where Russia held its sham referendums.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called it a "blatant violation of international law." 

Sham referendums

Russian proxies claimed to have calculated the results and claimed that nearly all residents in the four partially occupied regions voted in favor of joining Russia. 

The proxies claimed that 99% of those who "voted" in Donetsk Oblast supported the annexation, as well as 98% in Luhansk Oblast, 87% in Kherson Oblast, and 93% in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Russia only controls 60% of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. The so-called vote was carried out at gunpoint.

In Zaporizhzhia Oblast's occupied Enerhodar, Russian troops have threatened to mobilize those who refused to "vote," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Intelligence Directorate reported

Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, residents were asked to come to the military enlistment office, citing Putin's "partial mobilization," the city council said. Mayor Vadym Boychenko urged men to flee Mariupol during a briefing, as the Russians would likely forbid them from leaving the city to conduct forced mobilization after the results of the "voting" are out. 

Russia is trying to organize forced mobilization of Ukrainian citizens in occupied territories to replenish its losses on the battlefield, the General Staff of the Ukrainian military said

Battlefield development

Ukraine officially confirmed crossing the Oskil River, taking full control of Kupiansk and its suburbs. Unofficial reports claim Ukraine was able to cross Oskil in several areas.

According to the Southern Operational Command, Russians tried to attack Ochakov Port in the southern Mykolaiv Oblast with Iranian Kamikaze drones, but all three were shot down.

Russian troops used drones over 50 times within 24 hours. The General Staff reported that Russia used drones, including the Iranian Shahed-136, to "conduct reconnaissance, adjust fire, and strike civil infrastructure."

In eastern Donetsk Oblast, where the heavy fighting continues, Ukraine's military repelled attacks near 10 settlements in the region, according to Ukraine's General Staff.

Casualties and attacks

Russian forces launched two missile strikes and six airstrikes across Ukraine on Sept. 27, Ukraine's General Staff reported

Late on Sept. 26, a Russian cruise missile strike hit an airport in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast's Kryvyi Rih, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported. He said the airfield could no longer be used, and airport buildings and various equipment were destroyed

Soon, Russian forces struck the center of southern Mykolaiv with Uragan and Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems, Governor Vitalii Kim said.

In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Governor Oleksandr Starukh said Russia fired 10 S-300 missiles on Zaporizhzhia's infrastructure facilities early on Sept. 27, damaging a power line. 

In Kharkiv Oblast, Governor Syniehubov said the authorities are evacuating residents from recently liberated areas in the region due to the continuing Russian shelling. According to him, 8,933 people have been evacuated so far, including 859 children and 91 people with disabilities. 

In Donetsk Oblast, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that another three people were killed in and near Bakhmut, while 13 others were wounded across the region on Sept. 26.

Asami Terajima
Asami Terajima
National reporter

Asami Terajima is a national reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She previously worked as a business reporter for the Kyiv Post focusing on international trade, infrastructure, investment and energy.

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