Russia suggests November 4 annexation vote for occupied Ukrainian territories

Referendum would mirror vote held in occupied Crimea in 2014

A woman looks at a building left scarred after a cluster bomb attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine. Getty Images
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

People living in occupied regions of Ukraine should vote on annexation on November 4, the leader of Russia's governing party said on Wednesday.

Andrei Turchak, head of President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, suggested the date would be “correct and symbolic”, as it is a day on which Russia celebrates national unity.

Ukraine and its allies have previously denounced similar plans for referendums.

Mr Turchak added that the vote would “definitely” take place this year.

Russia controls about one fifth of Ukraine's territory and has moved to “Russify” occupied areas, including by handing out Russian passports and imposing a new school curriculum and TV programming.

Ukraine wants disputed and captured regions returned to its control.

The suggested vote would mirror one held in occupied Crimea in 2014 after Russia annexed it from Ukraine. Ukraine and western governments denounced that referendum as illegal.

The US said Moscow is trying to follow the same “playbook” now.

A Moscow-appointed government in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson on Monday suspended plans for a referendum on joining Russia as Ukraine continues its counter-offensive in the territory.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Kherson administration, said the plans were put on hold because of the security situation, Tass news agency reported.

Russian officials want to hold referendums in several occupied regions, including the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, alongside elections in Russia.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 5:26 PM