The proxies in Moscow-held territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts claimed that nearly all residents voted in favor of joining Russia. Moscow seeks to use sham referendums, held at gunpoint and despite international outrage between Sept. 23-27, to illegally annex Ukrainian lands, as it did in Crimea in 2014.
Ukrainian officials said the "referendums" were held under coercive conditions, with Russian soldiers carrying weapons doing a house call to force them to vote. Russia's state-controlled news outlet Ria Novosti claimed, citing proxies, that 99% voted in favor of joining Russia in Donetsk Oblast, as well as 98% in Luhansk Oblast, 87% in Kherson Oblast, and 93% in Zaporizhzhia region.
The staged "referendums" are condemned by the international community, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calling it a "blatant violation of international law."