Will Ukraine Succeed? In a Telegram post on Wednesday, ousted Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov revealed how 10 explosions rocked the city, which lies in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine. The news came as International Atomic Energy Agency officials prepared to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after initially being denied access by Russian military personnel.
“Resistance continues: about 10 explosions were recorded south of Melitopol, in the direction of the Molochny Lyman, where the occupiers were bringing their military equipment,” the Melitopol mayor wrote on Telegram.
Fedorov added that explosions were “increasing” after first being heard by residents in the southern streets of the city, and later by residents across the rest of the city.
“We are collecting more detailed information,” the mayor added.
Similar strikes from Ukrainian forces hit the village of Myrne near Melitopol just days earlier.
“The occupiers on Ukrainian land are, to put it mildly, uncomfortable and they are not welcome here,” Fedorov told his Telegram followers over the weekend.
The strikes appear to have been coordinated by Ukrainian forces working to thwart planned referendums in the Russian-occupied territory, where Russian military officials are preparing a fake poll designed to legitimize their occupation of the territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin finalized the plans in August, with the polls expected to take place by mid-September.
Intelligence initially suggested that the referendums would only take place in some parts of occupied Ukraine, but it’s now believed that they will take place in all captured parts of the country, including Donetsk, Luhansk, Mariupol, Kherson, and Melitopol.
It’s the same strategy used by the Russians to justify the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and while it will give Putin something to show the Russian people to defend his war, the results are unlikely to convince NATO leaders.
Fake Votes in Ukraine
While the referendums are real in the sense that local people will be asked whether they wish to remain under the control of Russian or Ukrainian forces, they are not legitimate in the sense that the Ukrainian government does not authorize them, and millions of Ukrainians have already fled the country. Putin is likely to get the answer he wants in every single Russian-occupied region that holds the referendums, and even if he doesn’t, there will be zero oversight to ensure that the polls are conducted legally.
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.