Moscow, (EFE) .- The referendums on the incorporation into Russia of the Ukrainian territories of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, partially controlled by Russian forces, began today amid strong security measures, as the reported pro-Russian local authorities

The voting process of these referendums, to which Ukraine and the international community deny any legitimacy, will last until the next day 27.

The head of the electoral commission installed in the region of Zaporijia, Galina Katiuschenko, confirmed to the Interfax agency that “all the members of the electoral commissions, more than 5,000 people, have already started their work”.

He also explained that during the first four days, citizens will be able to vote at home and in places specially equipped for this purpose, and that the usual polling stations will only be open on the last day of the election.

“Liberated Territories”

In Lugansk, confirmation of the start of the referendum came with a statement: “Today at 08:00 Moscow time, throughout the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic, electoral commissions began their work.”

This was advanced by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of this self-proclaimed entity recognized by Russia as an independent state.

Due to security measures, citizens of this territory will also be able to vote at home.

The President of the Central Electoral Commission of Russia, Ela Pamfilova, had already assured the day before that she would do everything necessary so that the inhabitants of the “liberated territories” who are in Russia can participate in the consultations.

Moscow supported the referenda, although its army controls just over half of Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions, and almost all of Lugansk and Kherson.

UN condemnation

Ukraine has accused Russian security forces of manipulating voter lists in the occupied territories and of persecuting and kidnapping loyal citizens in Kyiv.

Various analysts agree that the Kremlin will speed up the process of recognizing Donbass and the occupied territories of southern Ukraine as part of the Russian Federation, following the same scenario with which it carried out the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The referendums were condemned yesterday by UN Secretary General António Guterres who recalled that any annexation of territory by force is a violation of international law.

During his speech to the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden also called the referendums ‘bogus’ and accused Russia of wanting ‘to end Ukraine’s right to exist as a state’ .

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