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Official: Russia sets date for sham 'elections' in occupied Kherson Oblast

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 6, 2023 1:06 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Russian public, Russia's Armed Forces, and law enforcement amid the Wagner Group's armed rebellion on June 24. (Photo by Artem Priakhin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Russia will hold illegal "elections" in the occupied parts of Kherson Oblast between Sep. 8-10, said Yurii Sobolevskyi, the first deputy head of the Kherson Oblast Council on July 6.

The Ukrainian official cited the statement of the head of the so-called "Kherson Oblast election commission," set up by the Russian occupation authorities.

"These actions have nothing to do with the election process and are absolutely illegal," Sobolevskyi wrote on Telegram.

"Considering how they already conducted the 'referendum,' you can't call it anything other than a circus and absurd theater."

The official appealed to the residents of the occupied territories not to participate in the sham "elections," adding that those who do will be held accountable.

On May 29, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing regional "elections" to be held in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Russia's central election commission confirmed the plans to hold the illegal vote in four partially-occupied Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk.

The sham vote, which is expected to take place on the same day as elections in Russian regions, shows the Kremlin's ambition to present the areas as integral parts of Russia, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.

Russian leaders will likely argue that the staged elections further justify the occupation as they did with the sham referendum in Crimea in 2014, the ministry said on Feb. 6.

Moscow claimed to annex Ukraine's Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts in September 2022 after fake referendums.

Russian forces do not have full control of these regions, and two regional capitals - Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - are under Ukrainian control.

Ukrainians under occupation face deportation, loss of property after Putin’s new order
Editor’s Note: The names of the people from the Russian-occupied territories interviewed by the Kyiv Independent for this story have been changed to protect their identity, as they have shared sensitive information that could place them in danger. As Russia largely exhausted its military potential…
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