In the occupied territories of Ukraine, Russia has started holding phoney elections that are very certainly going to result in Moscow recognising those areas as being a part of the mainland.
Residents will not be able to cast ballots during the first four days of the five-day “voting” period because police and Russian officials will be going door to door and inviting them to improvised polling places in residential areas.
Moscow says this is necessary for security reasons to prevent attacks on the polling places, but in fact, it will give people plenty of opportunities to intimidate others. Additionally, polls will be opened inside of Russia, providing more potential for vote-rigging.
All seized territories are anticipated to “vote” to join Russia, probably definitely with 80 or 90 percent of voters saying “yes” as occurred in occupied Crimea in 2014 when the Kremlin pulled a similar trick.
The votes still represent a turning point in the conflict since Putin will now be able to convince his own people that any attempt by the Ukrainians to retake land is really an attack on Russia.
That increases the range of alternatives he has for responding.
The fact that Russia’s policy permits the use of nuclear weapons in the event that the state’s survival is endangered is perhaps the most concerning.
Additionally, it would give Putin the opportunity to turn his “special military operation” into a full-fledged conflict, enhancing his ability to enlist personnel and punish any who attempt to leave.
He announced a “partial mobilisation” of the Russian populace this week and looks determined to draught hundreds of thousands of individuals into the military.
Due to recent legislation, soldiers’ contracts are now indefinite, making it impossible for them to voluntarily leave the military.
Russian social media platforms were flooded with emotional images of grieving families saying goodbye to soldiers leaving military recruitment facilities as voting began in the controlled territories.
Men embraced their crying family members in cities all around the enormous nation before being drafted.
In the meanwhile, Russian anti-war activists prepared more demonstrations against the mobilisation.
The vote on Friday was referred to as “a historical milestone” by Denis Pushilin, the separatist head of the Moscow-backed authorities in the Donetsk region.
In an online message on Friday, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said to the occupied regions: “If you chose to become part of the Russian Federation – we will back you.”
The upper house of the Russian parliament’s chair, Valentina Matviyenko, said that the referendums were a matter of “life or death” for the people of the seized territories.
Today, Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russians to ‘resist’ Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilisation and urged Kremlin forces in Ukraine to ‘fight back, flee away, or surrender.’
In these six months of combat, 55,000 Russian troops perished, Zelensky said in his daily speech. Would you like more? No? and then object. Fight back, flee, or turn yourself in to our soldiers.
Zelensky also said that the Russian people are “complicit” in Putin’s cruel invasion, which is claimed to have resulted in torture and the killing of civilians. He added that conscripts have the option to “live, die, or become a cripple” if they cannot resist being pushed into combat.
As the partial mobilisation, which now affects 300,000 military reservists, starts, all flights out of Russia to nearby countries that allow visa-free entrance were practically completely booked today.
In addition to yesterday’s request for thousands more soldiers, the Russian president has recently threatened nuclear war against Ukraine and its friends in the West.
The vote is taking place while Russian and Ukrainian soldiers are exchanging fire and refusing to give ground in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Pro-Russian authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region on Friday morning reported hearing a loud explosion in the heart of Melitopol, a city that Moscow had taken early in the conflict.
Vladimir Rogov, an official, made no mention of the explosion’s source or the existence of any injuries or damage.
Authorities in the Donetsk region, who are supported by Moscow, have also claimed that Ukrainian troops shelled Yasynuvata and the territory’s main city of Donetsk.
In response, Ukrainian authorities reported further Russian bombardment in numerous regions of the nation.
In the early hours of Friday, explosions were heard in the city of Mykolaiv, according to Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv, which borders the Kherson area.
The Dnipropetrovsk region’s governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said that on Friday morning, Russian forces shelled Nikopol, a city located across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
Putin thought the fight to overthrow the Ukrainian government and appoint a puppet administration would last just a few days. Now, it has been going on for over seven months.
Instead, he has been forced to fight a tenacious foe who is supported by Western weaponry and resources in a bloody attrition battle.
China and India, which both had positive relations with Putin before to the conflict, have cut ties with his government, and even North Korea has said that it won’t provide Russia with armaments because doing so would “tarnish” its reputation.
As resistance to the invasion rises, anti-war organisations have organised more rallies.
Upon the announcement, there were reportedly claims of a mass departure. The Kremlin denied on Thursday that claims that Russians who were eligible for mobilisation were making a mad dash for the door.
James Heappey, the minister for the armed forces, said today in the House of Commons that Mr. Putin’s behaviour was “rattled” and an admission of Russia’s “failure.”
25,000 Russians have already lost their lives in the Ukraine war, Mr. Heappey told lawmakers, and now Moscow is sending tens of thousands more soldiers into a harsh winter.
The minister said, “Russian conscripts are going to suffer brutally as a result of the Kremlin’s arrogance.”
Speaking during the same Commons discussion, former prime minister Boris Johnson described Mr. Putin as “weak,” a “problem gambler” who takes bigger risks because he is “terrified of losing.”
The former premier emphasised how yesterday’s prospective Russian conscripts “had no desire to be sacrificed on the altar of his (Mr. Putin’s) ego,” which is why the cost of one-way airline tickets from Moscow to South Africa skyrocketed.