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Putin signs ‘law’ allowing elections, forced deportations in Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek May 29, 2023 3:46 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting on tourism development in Russia via a video link from Saint Petersburg on May 2, 2023. (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev / SPUTNIK / AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill on May 29 allowing regional “elections” in occupied territories of Ukraine, which are planned for September this year, as well as forced deportations of the local population.

Previously, Russian law did not allow to hold a vote in a territory under "martial law," which is still in effect in the Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.

The bill also allows the possibility of "forced and controlled movement of citizens from the territory where martial law is imposed to territories where martial law is not imposed."

Moscow plans sham regional “elections” in an attempt to legitimize its illegal occupation.

The Russian authorities are likely preparing the ground for the "vote" by bribing or coercing locals to take Russian passports and forcing the deportation of those who refuse.

This is in line with Moscow's efforts to Russify the occupied areas.

In September 2022, the Kremlin staged illegal so-called “referendums” in the occupied territories on joining the Russian Federation.

Russia and its local proxies used coercion and mass falsification to produce favorable results, claiming nearly 100% support in some areas.

Subsequently, Putin claimed the "annexation" of these territories on Sep. 30.

Moscow's troops do not have full control of these regions, and two regional capitals - Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - are under Ukrainian control.

Life under occupation: ‘I was forced to vote in sham referendum at gunpoint’
Editor’s Note: This story includes interviews with people living under the Russian occupation. Their names have been changed to protect their identity as they have shared sensitive information that could place them and their families in danger. Mariupol resident Oleksandr, 53, had just entered a ha…
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5:59 PM

Russia claims to have captured Novomykhailivka, Ukraine denies.

The situation in Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast is "tense but under control," Yaroslav Chepurnyi, spokesperson of the 79th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade told the Kyiv Independent on April 22, after Russia claimed to have captured the village earlier in the day.
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