Kyiv, UKRAINE – Within the occupied territories of Ukraine, the place a staged referendum has been held since Friday, residents urged authorities to make use of intimidation and propaganda campaigns to affect the vote, all of the whereas making a festive environment. He mentioned he does.
Within the southern port metropolis of Kherson, metropolis middle officers arrange a stage and carried singers and poll bins. Her girlfriend, Serhiy, a pensioner residing in an occupied metropolis, mentioned in a phone interview that few folks turned as much as vote.
“Only a few folks have been there to vote,” he mentioned. Elsewhere, armed troopers visited his kinfolk demanding votes.
Volodymyr Sardo, a Ukrainian who switched sides to turn into the pinnacle of the Kherson area occupation authority, mentioned the vote went properly and that the folks voted “enthusiastically”. As they voted, he mentioned, “Their eyes are burning and shining and this exhibits their angle in direction of this occasion.” He mentioned he had moved the vote ahead a day as a result of the votes had been solid.
The official outcomes of a staged referendum might be introduced on Tuesday and are anticipated to assert a majority of residents voted to hitch Russia, with the Kremlin formalizing the annexation of the area as early as this week. announce to
Russian authorities within the occupied territories have promised passports, welfare funds, free drugs and reductions on telephone payments. One billboard in Kherson confirmed a pregnant girl in a conventional Ukrainian embroidered shirt being hugged by her husband. “Our prime precedence is household,” her signal mentioned. “Social Safety of the Russian Federation”
One was selling the advantages of Russian citizenship. “A Russian passport is social stability and safety,” it mentioned. One other billboard confirmed a younger lady waving a Russian flag saying, “Russia is without end right here.”
Newspapers printed by the occupying authorities centered on comparable themes. A neighborhood version of the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, printed for occupied Kherson, had the headline: “Kherson Will get Passports, Low-cost Telephones and Banks.” “Utilities will go down,” claimed one other headline.
“Medicine will likely be free.” The newspaper additionally reported that Putin lately signed a decree creating a brand new vacation in Russia, the Day of Household, Love and Loyalty. “Nevertheless, in keeping with phone interviews with residents of a number of occupied cities, regardless of propaganda, many didn’t go to polling stations and troopers armed with assault rifles tried to power them to vote. and
“They went to the hospital as a result of the variety of contributors was nonetheless small,” mentioned Oleg, a resident of Kherson. “Individuals are in a dependent scenario there and it is arduous to refuse to vote.”
Elsewhere in occupied Ukraine, Russian troopers arrived in residential areas in giant armored autos referred to as Tigers and parked them on the streets to kind momentary checkpoints, stopping folks from leaving and manning polling stations. escorted folks from door to door.
“Two or three troopers with machine weapons accompanied the electoral officers with the poll bins,” mentioned Maria, who lives in Çaplinka within the Kherson area. In Polokhi, within the Zaporiska area, she patrolled the inhabitants as troopers crammed out ballots.
“They stayed and watched folks vote and mark lists,” she mentioned. Later, “those that refused to vote have been informed to take action.” .
Serhiy, a pensioner, mentioned he was house for many days through the referendum and was not going to open the door as a result of he was petrified of Russia’s secret police, the Federal Safety Service. Billboards promoting the advantages of becoming a member of Russia have been “for idiots,” he mentioned.
“Day-after-day I simply wait to be launched,” he mentioned.
Anna Lukinova of Kyiv contributed reporting.