Headline RoundupSeptember 23rd, 2022

Annexation Referendums Begin in Russian-Occupied Ukrainian Regions

Summary from the AllSides News Team

In the Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine, referendums are being held by Moscow-backed regional governments to vote on joining the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian government and the bulk of Western countries have denounced the referendums as fraudulent, illegal, and conducted under undemocratic circumstances.

Reports from the regions back these sentiments, with an article from CNN stating that voting on the issue is being “effectively carried out at gunpoint” by Russian-backed separatists and invading Moscow forces. Results from each region’s vote are expected to be announced gradually in the next week, but most outlets are already predicting the vote to overwhelmingly favor joining Russia on account of the performative nature of the referendum. The decision to hold the referendum mirrors previous strategies from the Kremlin. A similar vote was held on the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and used to justify Russian occupation of the Ukrainian land.

The referendum comes as Russia works to reclaim their footing and bolster support for their invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of the country, which resulted in protests across the country and increased border crossings out of Russian territory. 

The ongoing referendums are being covered widely by international outlets and mildly domestically. Coverage across the spectrum frames the voting as illegitimate and forecasts the results to be not indicative of public opinion and predetermined by Russian officials. 

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