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Russia Moving Ahead with “Pseudo Referendums” in Ukraine

Russia T-14 Armata
Russian Armata T-14 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian intelligence warned that the Russian occupation administration was preparing a series of “pseudo-referendums” in regions occupied by Russian forces, including Kherson and Mykolayiv.

Over the last week, local residents in the besieged parts of Ukraine have grown increasingly concerned about their fate.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that residents are growing worried that Russia is planning to stage a “sham” referendum designed to convert the region into a pro-Kremlin “people’s republic.”

One local teacher told the news outlet that soldiers are walking around and patrolling the area silently, and are not shooting people in the streets. 

“They are trying to give the impression that they come in peace to liberate us from something,” the teacher said.

Others told journalists that there is “no panic” and that there is a “very small minority of people” who are happy that the area is now under Russian control. 

“But mostly, nobody wants Kherson to become a part of Russia,” one 63-year-old resident said.

If the claims are true, the staging of a referendum in eastern Ukraine this year may play out just the same as it did in 2014, when a large number of pro-Kyiv residents boycotted the vote. 

Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev sounded the alarms over a possible referendum this week, saying on Ukrainian television that any such vote would be a violation of Ukrainian law. Russian forces acting on the results of a referendum held in the region would also be a violation of provisions in the Ukrainian constitution that require the entire population to be asked in a referendum before changes to the nation’s borders and territorial control are made.

Zelenskyy Says Referendums A Red Line

An official statement published by the Ukrainian president’s office confirmed his position on referendums held by Russia in Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasizes that in the event of any pseudo-referendums in the occupied territories they will not be recognized by Ukraine and the world and will complicate possible negotiations between Ukraine and Russia,” the statement reads.

Zelenskyy said during a statement after meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Kyiv this week that it will “not be possible” to annex any part of Ukraine’s territory by force.

The Ukrainian president said that any referendum held by the Russians would compromise upcoming negotiations between the two countries.

“It seems to me that this is a complication of any negotiations,” he added.

If Russia goes ahead with the referendums rumored to be planned in Donbas, it could be the end of peace talks between the two countries. Given the intensity of the fighting in Ukraine, which didn’t occur in 2014, Western nations may be forced to examine what further measures can be taken to respond to Russia if Donetsk and Luhansk are annexed.  

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    It is interesting that the Ukrainians of Donbass do not care that some Anglo-Saxons consider their referendums not real. Remember this.

  2. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Don’t worry Alex, the rest of Ukraine doesn’t consider them real either 🙂

  3. Alex

    April 30, 2022 at 5:43 am

    The rest of Ukraine is western Ukraine, where non-Ukrainians live. Ukrainians do not care about those who do not even have their own ethnic group. But soon everything will change:

    According to the latest data, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania have prepared a secret document on the division of western Ukraine. Finally, the peoples of the west of Ukraine will get to Europe. But there is another document about what European countries will do with the Bandera Nazis, whom they hate. this development of events is not a secret; many analysts have written and continue to write about it. The good news is that the Ukrainians of the East will return to their Russian brothers, and we will return our original Polish territories. It’s just great!

  4. CK

    April 30, 2022 at 6:06 am

    “I don’t care about people’s that don’t have their own ethnic group…”

    Funny, I remember once someone said something very similar of Poles and Slavs… imbeciles never learn their history, do they?

    Sometimes, I envy your delusions Alex. The world you live in must be fascinating!

    One minute you accuse us of being Bandera Nazis, the next that we will crush Bandera Nazis, one moment we are enemies, next moment we are “liberators” of Ukraine …

    Go easy on that Vodka man, I hear medical supplies are so low over there you’ll soon have to be using it to clean wounds!

  5. Alex

    April 30, 2022 at 7:49 am

    “NATO is a ploy, it is a structure whose purpose is to hide America’s dominance over Europe.”
    Charles de Gaulle.

    It must be understood that Europe will also be responsible for subordinating the United States. Questions “what are we for” are no longer important for Russia. If Europe wants to become a bargaining chip in the battle against Bandera’s Nazis, then so be it. Personally, I, like many acquaintances from Poland, are going to Russia. There are more chances to survive in Russia. And let the idiots die for US interests in Ukraine.

  6. CK

    April 30, 2022 at 11:42 am

    “I, like many of my acquaintances from Poland, are going to Russia.”

    You know what they say, if it sounds like an idiot, looks like an idiot, and says idiotic things like an idiot, it’s probably an idiot! ?

    Alex, there isn’t a single person in Poland with an ounce of grey matter in their heads going to Russia. Although in your case, I guess that explains everything.

    Bon voyage!

  7. Alex

    May 1, 2022 at 7:06 am

    And now, not stupid propaganda from pseudo-journalists and squealing Bandera bastards, but real facts. Let’s see how Russia “lost”:

    In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, Russia has destroyed 143 aircraft, 112 helicopters, 660 unmanned aerial vehicles, 279 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,678 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 308 multiple rocket launchers, 1,196 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 2,503 units of special military vehicles. Destroyed 43.814 Bandera Nazis and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 3,540 soldiers surrendered.

    Utilization of US and NATO equipment is proceeding according to plan:
    High-precision missiles “Onyx” in the Odessa region at a military airfield destroyed a hangar with weapons and ammunition received from the United States and European countries, and also destroyed the runway.

    Every day, the flags of the people’s militia of Donbass, Russia and Chechnya are raised over a new liberated settlement. Everything can be seen on the map of hostilities.

    A French journalist released another film about the atrocities of Bandera Nazi bastards. The photo and video evidence is simply amazing – these bastards of Bandera Nazis only need to be exterminated, finally and completely.

    The point is that no matter how hard the pseudo-journalists try to lie, the truth inevitably comes to the surface.

    By the way, Russian special forces seized important documents from one of the American biological laboratories in Ukraine. The announcement is this: the experiments that the Americans conducted on people, on Ukrainians, amaze the imagination with their cruelty.

    I will say this: “Hello, new Third Reich, you will also be destroyed.” History is cyclical. Again the West is trying to defeat Russia and will be defeated again.

  8. CK

    May 1, 2022 at 8:06 am

    Hey Alex, look at this! You’re in the news!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/01/troll-factory-spreading-russian-pro-war-lies-online-says-uk

    “Russian internet trolls based in an old arms factory in St Petersburg are targeting world leaders online and spreading support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the British government has said, citing research.”

    “The headquarters is allegedly located in rented space in St Petersburg’s Arsenal Machine-building Factory, a company that manufactures military equipment and technology.”

    “The study details how the Russian president’s regime is trying to manipulate public opinion on social media, as well as in the comments sections of major media outlets.”

    “The analysis suggests one main activity is “brigading”, to steer attention of discussion on social media and in comments sections of newspapers towards favoured opinions. Manipulation of polls in western media was also observed, including to skew the results of a survey on whether sanctions against Russia were supported.”

    Does this look like anyone we know? Also, sucks that they are making you work on a Saturday man! Is it that bad over there you guys can’t make ends meet?

    Does Sveta not have enough clients? Reach out man, we want to help!

  9. CK

    May 1, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Hey Alex, look at this! You’re in the news!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/01/troll-factory-spreading-russian-pro-war-lies-online-says-uk

    “Russian internet trolls based in an old arms factory in St Petersburg are targeting world leaders online and spreading support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the British government has said, citing research.”

    “The headquarters is allegedly located in rented space in St Petersburg’s Arsenal Machine-building Factory, a company that manufactures military equipment and technology.”

    “The study details how the Russian president’s regime is trying to manipulate public opinion on social media, as well as in the comments sections of major media outlets.”

    “The analysis suggests one main activity is “brigading”, to steer attention of discussion on social media and in comments sections of newspapers towards favoured opinions. Manipulation of polls in western media was also observed, including to skew the results of a survey on whether sanctions against Russia were supported.”

    Does this look like anyone we know? Also, sucks that they are making you work on a Saturday man! Is it that bad over there you guys can’t make ends meet?

    Does Sveta not have enough clients? Reach out man, we want to help!

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

  10. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 8:11 am

    In the meantime, the Bandera Nazi from the Ukrainian troll factory lost his voice from screeching and choked on bile, let’s talk about how the day went:

    Politico reported thousands of foreigners fighting on the side of Ukraine
    Combat-trained Americans, along with thousands of other foreigners, are participating in the military operations in Ukraine on the side of Kyiv. Such an assessment is given in an article published in the American edition of Politico. The publication refers to retired military and employees of American PMCs, who are currently on the territory of Ukraine.

    The material notes that in Ukraine, in particular, the Task Force Yankee group, headed by the American Harrison Yosefovitz, operates. He previously worked as a police officer in Chicago, Illinois, and also served in the US Army (ground forces).

    On April 29, CNN, citing the family of an American citizen and PMC mercenary Willie Joseph, reported his death in Ukraine. According to the mother of the mercenary, he went to Poland on March 12 and crossed the border into Ukraine on March 12-13. The woman noted that in the group of mercenaries, in which her son was, there were citizens of “a variety of countries.”

    The mercenaries come from the USA, Canada, Georgia, Great Britain, Poland and Romania.
    More than a thousand mercenaries have already been destroyed. About a thousand more refused to participate in hostilities and returned to their former extremist deployment sites.

    The remaining 4.8-5 thousand foreign mercenaries should return to their states, since, according to international law, they are deprived of legal protection and “at best” they will face long-term imprisonment. As we understand, most likely they will never return home. an easy walk to hunt people turned out to be a trap forever.

    Representatives of the military-civilian administration of Kherson raised the Russian flag on the building of the local executive committee in the Russian-controlled village of Chernobaevka, where the Kherson international airport is located.
    Russian security forces also removed Ukrainian signs from the building of the local administration.
    According to the residents of Chernobaevka, the former head of the village administration, Igor Dudar, fled to the territory controlled by Ukraine. During his reign, the Eternal Flame was extinguished at the monument to the fallen heroes of the Great Patriotic War, and photographs of veterans were taken from the village Board of Honor. Now, as assured in the military-civilian administration, all this will be corrected.

    Over the past day, from 8:00 am on May 1 to 8:00 am on May 2, 159 people, including 29 children, were evacuated from Mariupol to Bezymennoe, Novoazovsky District. Then people flee to Russia. Do you need more evidence of who is the aggressor and the killer, and to whom they run for help? Yes, propagandists and liars cannot change this.

    During the day, Russian air defense systems destroyed 10 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the areas of the settlements of Vesele, Borshchevo and Balakleya in the Kharkiv region, Kisylivka in the Kherson region, Mayak in the Zaporozhye region, Dokuchaev, Korsun and Khanzhinkovo ​​of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as in the area of ​​the city of Lugansk. Western drones turned out to be just targets for Russia and Donbass.

    High-precision air-launched missiles hit 38 Ukrainian military facilities in a day. Among them are four command posts, 30 strongholds, areas of concentration of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment, and three warehouses of missile and artillery weapons in the areas of Pervomayskoye and Ilyichevka settlements.

    The Osa AKM air defense system and a battery of multiple launch rocket systems in the Arkhangelovka area were also destroyed. Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 27 strongholds, areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as a depot of rocket and artillery weapons and ammunition in the area of ​​​​the village of Chervonoe, Zaporozhye region. Up to 160 personnel and 26 units of Ukrainian armored vehicles were destroyed.

    During the day, the missile forces hit nine strongholds and areas of concentration of manpower and equipment, as well as the BM-21 Grad and an artillery battery in firing positions. Artillery subunits hit 26 command and control posts, 78 strongholds, 359 manpower and equipment concentration areas, and 67 artillery firing positions. Six ammunition depots, up to 280 personnel and 43 units of weapons and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed.

    In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, Russia has destroyed 146 aircraft, 112 helicopters, 683 unmanned aerial vehicles, 281 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,756 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 316 multiple rocket launchers, 1,234 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 2,563 units of special military vehicles. All this is confirmed and documented. Now tell us about 200,000 dead Russians and 5,000 destroyed Russian tanks, clowns.

    The Ukrainian authorities are seeking the evacuation of all those at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol to the territory controlled by Kyiv in order to hide the presence among the military countries.

    Among those at the plant there are a large number of characters who will confirm the presence of mercenaries, and perhaps acting officers of the Western armies on the side of the Ukrainian radicals.

    Does the elimination of the influence of a few dozen (even thousands) of Nazis deserve to put a country of forty million at risk? This is not a completely correct question. This is a question that concerns the fundamental security interests of the Russian Federation.

    We all remember the beginning of Nazism in Ukraine:
    persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian language and the Russian media was carried out, sales of all printed materials in Russian were stopped, laws were adopted to promote Nazi theory and practice.

    The whole world understood that Ukraine is not worth starting a nuclear war, for which all the peoples of Russia are ready, but the peoples of the West are not ready. However, if crazy politicians want to try, it will be as President Putin said: “… we will all go to heaven, and you all will just die …”. Most importantly, the majority of Russians supported his words. Are you ready for war with Russia? Then go ahead and try it.

  11. CK

    May 2, 2022 at 9:17 am

    You can smell the panic when the story changes day by day.

    Day 1: We will take Kiev in 3 days! (Alex put’s on clown shoes)

    Day 2: All Bandera-Nazis will be crushed! (Alex puts own striped clown trousers, with suspenders)

    Day 3: Retreat is all part of the master plan! The Moskva suffered a fire! We remain master strategists! (Alex puts on clown shirt, with a water squirtie flower in his pocket)

    Day 4: Don’t look at Ukraine! Look at Biden, Afghanistan, Iraq, BLM, MAGA, Trump, Hunter Biden, look at the birds, Elon Musk, anywhere but what we are doing in Ukraine! (Alex puts on his clown makeup)

    Day 5: Look at all these fake documentaries, all these fake independent reporters, these pseudo-histocal facts, all this nonsense! (Alex puts on his bright green clown wig)

    Day 6: Donbas Militia will crush everyone in East! Battle of encirclement is imminent! Victory shall be ours, we swear bro, plz believe bruh! (Alex puts on his clown gloves)

    Day 7: No! We are not losing, it’s just because now there are thousands of Americans and Irishmen and Scots and god knows who else fighting with the Americans! We’d totes be winning if it weren’t for those pesky kids! (Alex grabs his clown equipment)

    Day 8+: Alex is revealed for the clown he is.

    Every day a different story huh? No wonder you clowns can’t get shit done in Ukraine, you have no focus.

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