Moscow/Lviv Sep 20 (EFE).- Russian-backed separatists in Zaporizhzhia joined Tuesday other occupied Ukrainian territories’ call to hold a referendum on joining Russia.
Luhansk, Donetsk, as well as Kherson, are demanding to be annexed to Russia soon, a call that comes as Ukrainian forces rapidly advance into the east of the country recapturing land seized by Moscow’s troops.
“We, the members of Zaporizhzhia’s People’s Assembly called on the (Russian-appointed) regional governor, Yevhen Balytskyi, to hold an immediate referendum on the subject of joining the Russian Federation,” the statement read.
“The ideal security conditions do not exist. The sooner we are part of Russia, the sooner we will have peace,” Russian-appointed regional official Vladimir Rogov said.
In response, the Ukrainian presidency described the call for a referendum as “blackmail.”
“The enemy is afraid,” said Andriy Yermak, the head of the office of the president of Ukraine.
Yermak accused Russia of resorting to threats such as calling for referendums and mobilizing Russian men, adding Ukraine would “solve” the Russian problem “by force.”
In July, authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region created an electoral commission to hold a vote on accession to Russia. In August, preparations for the referendum kicked off. EFE