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Russia confirms plans to hold sham elections in occupied Ukrainian territories

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 15, 2023 3:28 PM 2 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin speaks with Central Election Commission (CEC) head Ella Pamfilova (R) during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 26, 2021. (ALEXEI DRUZHININ/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia's central election commission has confirmed plans to hold so-called elections in four Ukrainian regions that Moscow claims to have annexed while having only partial control over them. The commission set the "vote" date for Sept. 10.

According to Russia's election chief Ella Pamfilova, cited by Russian state-controlled news agency TASS, the decision was made after consultations with the country's defense ministry and security service.

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

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 sham votes, which are expected to take place on the same day as elections in Russian regions, show 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.

Russia’s centuries-long quest to conquer Ukraine
Editor’s Note: This is episode 2 of “Ukraine’s True History,” a video and story series by the Kyiv Independent. The series is funded by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting within the program “Ukraine Forward: Amplifying Analysis.” The program is financed by the MATRA Programme of the Embassy o…

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