Russian occupiers will hold a referendum on “reunification with Russia” in areas around the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Russian news agencies report.
On Tuesday, Russia’s occupation forces will hold a referendum on “reunification with Russia” in the region around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to Russian news agencies. He writes that the referendum will probably take place in September RIA.
– Russia-appointed head of Zaporizhzhya regional administration Yevhen Balytskyi says the election commission will soon decide on the date and how the vote will be held, according to the news agency.
The referendum on the Ukrainian territory becoming an independent republic was first held by the Russians on the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The referendum was subject to massive criticism. It followed votes in Luhansk and Donetsk shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.
In the Zaporizhzhya region and nearby Kherson region, Russian occupation forces established new administrations, and Russian television and radio channels broadcast from there. “The regions have announced plans to become part of Russia,” the news agency says RIA.
The referendum was not a surprise move by Russian officials, says Keir Hagen Karlsson, a lieutenant colonel and editor-in-chief of the Norwegian Defense Academy.
– The Russians have long hinted and almost declared that they would create a new “independent republic” north of the Crimean peninsula, as they did in Crimea and Luhansk and Donetsk.
There are already signs of this through the Russification of the region, the introduction of Russian currency, local administration and the introduction of the Russian language at school, Karlsson tells VG.
– They are going to hold a fake referendum that will give it a semblance of legitimacy, then they will establish a republic and ask Russia to recognize them as an independent republic, says the lieutenant colonel.
In Russia, the propaganda surrounding the vote will probably convince many, while in the West no one will, Carlson believes. Western recognition does not play such a big role for Russian rulers, he says.
– The important thing for the Russians now is to avoid the resource-consuming protests against the war inside Russia, and the establishment of a republic that asks for recognition coincides with that, Carlson explains to VG.
Advocate:- Legally doubtful
Holding such referendums in occupied Ukrainian territory is legally questionable, says Jo Andreas Sannem, a college lecturer and judge at the Norwegian Defense College.
– An occupying power essentially has only certain rights under international law relating to defence. Sannem tells VG that organizing such a referendum could be another violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday He rules out negotiating with Russia if the Russians hold a referendum in the occupied territories.
Status now: War attrition
Lt. Col. Keir Hagen Carlson tells VG that there is nothing to indicate that negotiations for a peace agreement between the parties are now appropriate.
– As of today, both sides do not seem to be interested in negotiations. Generally speaking, one can say that negotiations come in two situations – when one party is doing better or when one party has incurred losses and costs and another solution has to be found.
Both parts don’t seem to exist now, he believes.
– Now everything indicates that it will be a long time. “My best assessment is that we are in a war where neither party can make major gains or change the map in the coming weeks,” Carlson said.
Fear of nuclear crisis
Russia captured the southern part of Zaporizhzhya in the first days after the February 24 invasion.
A nuclear power plant is an object of strategic importance because whoever controls it controls access to electricity over a large area.
Have been for the past few days A nuclear power plant was shelledAccording to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Croci, this poses a very real risk of a nuclear crisis.
Norwegian officials have also expressed concern about the power plant. The Directorate of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety is closely monitoring the situation and has raised the level of preparedness, NTB said.
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