The results of the annexation referendum in Ukraine have been announced: What will happen now?

WALL – After the military operation launched by the Moscow administration on February 24, the annexation referendums held in Ukraine in the regions controlled by the Russian-backed separatists and the Russian army were completed last week. It was stated that in the referendums held in Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporizhia, located in Donbass in the east of Ukraine, the vast majority voted to join Russia.

The results of the referendum announced by Russia are as follows:

Donestk People’s Republic: 99.23 percent of the electorate voted to join Russia.
Lugansk People’s Republic: 98.42 percent of the electorate voted to join Russia.
Kherson region: 87.05 percent of those who participated in the referendum voted in favor of joining Russia.
Zaporizhia region: 93.11 percent of those voting said ‘yes’ to joining Russia.

DONETSK AND LUGANSK LEADERS APPLY

The leaders of the Moscow-backed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced that they applied to the Kremlin to join Russia after the referendum. The local officials appointed by Russia to the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions announced that they will make an official application.

PUTIN IS EXPECTED TO SPEAK TO THE PARLIAMENT

It was stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin will announce the annexation of the said regions by making a speech in the parliament on September 30. The head of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, stated that the inclusion of the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions will be discussed in the parliament on 4 October.

While the annexation process is expected to be completed ‘quickly’, the results of the referendum will be recognized with the approval of the Russian parliament and the regions will then be considered part of Russia.

On the other hand, not all of the regions where annexation referendums were held are under Russian control. The capital of the Zaporozhye region, where Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is located, is still in the hands of the Ukrainian army.

REACTION FROM UKRAINE AND THE WEST: NOT LEGAL

Ukraine and the West announced that they would not recognize the results. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “This nonsense in the occupied territories cannot even be called a imitation of a referendum.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington would never recognize its annexation of Ukrainian territory. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also stated that the referendums were “unlegitimized” and “contrary to international law”.

Rosemary Dicarlo, United Nations Deputy Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, stated that the referendums are not “a true expression of the will of the people” or “legal” according to international law. (EXTERNAL NEWS)