The pro-Russian authorities of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have repeatedly spoken out in favor of holding referendums on joining Russia. Ukrainian vice speaker threatened with a prison term of up to 12 years for participating “in this circus” ” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >
Ukrainians in territories not controlled by Kyiv may face a prison term of up to 12 years for participating in referendums on joining Russia. This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk, reports “Strana.ua”.
“It's all a farce and a circus. For our citizens who will take part in this [referendum], this is indeed an article of the Criminal Code. They face criminal penalties. If collaboration is proven, or, for example, participation in a referendum, or inducement to participate in a referendum, then people can get up to 12 years with confiscation, — Vereshchuk said.
She noted that if Ukrainians do not have the opportunity to leave, then it is simply not worth going to such referendums. “It will not be possible later to justify the fact that a person went to a “referendum”, took some kind of “ballots” there; and did something there, — emphasized the vice-speaker.
The Russian military controls part of the Zaporozhye region of Ukraine, including the cities of Melitopol and Energodar, as well as the Kherson region. The military-civilian administrations announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia.
Two days before the start of the military operation in Ukraine, on February 22, Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. In early July, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin about the “liberation” of Lugansk People's Republic. The LPR said that a referendum on joining Russia is possible only after the capture of the entire DPR.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened that Kyiv would withdraw from negotiations with Moscow if her territories. The Kremlin claimed that it was not Russia that was going to hold referendums, but the inhabitants of these regions.
RBC learned that the Kremlin expects to hold referendums on joining Russia in the territories of Zaporozhye, Kherson and Kharkiv regions controlled by it before the end of autumn. This is one of the scenarios: the first one assumed their organization in September, but this option is no longer considered feasible. The decision will be made depending “on the situation on the fronts,” RBC sources said.
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