Armed soldiers go door to door forcing Ukrainians to vote in ‘fictitious’ referendums (photos/videos)
Ukrainians in occupied parts of the country have reportedly gone door to door collecting votes for self-proclaimed “referendums” on joining Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that four regions of Ukraine will vote to join Russia following heavy losses suffered in the fight against Ukrainian forces.
The so-called referendums, which take place over five days, will allow Russia to claim – illegally – four occupied or partially occupied regions of Ukraine.
“Annexation” could lead Russia to claim that its territory is under attack from Western weapons supplied to Ukraine, which could further escalate the war.
However, videos from Friday, September 23 and multiple social media reports show soldiers escorting election officials with ballot boxes to people’s homes to vote.
In southern Kherson, Russian servicemen stood with a ballot box in the middle of the city to collect people’s votes.
Door-to-door voting is for “security”, according to Russian state media.
“In-person voting will take place exclusively on September 27,” Tass reported. “On the other days, the vote will be organized in the municipalities and door-to-door.”
“You have to answer verbally and the soldier marks the answer on the sheet and the guard,” a woman from Enerhodar reportedly told the BBC.
A woman from Melitopol reportedly said that two local “collaborators” arrived with two Russian soldiers at her parents’ apartment, to give them a ballot to sign.
“My father put ‘no’ [to joining Russia]”, said the woman. “My mother stood nearby and asked what would happen if you put in ‘no’. They said, ‘Nothing’.
“Mom is now afraid that the Russians will persecute them.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK had evidence that Russian officials had already set targets for “invented voter turnout and approval ratings for these mock referendums”.
Cleverly stated that Russia plans to formalize the annexation of the four regions – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – by the end of the month.
Another woman from Kherson said she saw “armed militants” outside the building where the vote appeared to be taking place. She pretended to forget her passport so she wouldn’t have to vote.
The woman said all her friends and family were against the referendum. “We don’t know how our life will be after this referendum,” she said. “It’s very difficult to understand what they want to do.”
Ukraine says referendums won’t change anything and its forces will keep pushing to liberate all territories.
Watch the videos below
“We, the inhabitants of [Russia-occupied] Snihurivka [Mykolaiv region], gathered to protest the illegal referendum. Snihurivka has always been Ukraine. We never wanted to join Russia and we won’t.” pic.twitter.com/LzX4NnO4XU
— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) September 23, 2022
??This is how the “referendum” is held in the temporarily occupied town of Energodar in the Zaporizhzhia region. Video from subscribers. pic.twitter.com/uPRCZ3WhwL
— FLASH (@Flash_news_ua) September 23, 2022
Movable “referendum”. It’s always more convenient to vote when two soldiers armed with machine guns are knocking at your apartment. Zaporizhzhia region pic.twitter.com/4DPihwwnFw
— Special Kherson cat??? (@bayraktar_1love) September 23, 2022