In another sign that Kremlin-backed officials in occupied Ukraine are trying to push integration with Russia, the Public Council in Kherson has urged local authorities to immediately hold a referendum, sure that the Kherson region’s residents will fully support the initiative.
The council’s chairman, Vladimir Ovcharenko, said in the statement that the council made the appeal to Vladimir Saldo, the head of Kherson’s military-civilian administration.
The initiative in the Kherson region, where previous plans for such a vote have been delayed, comes in light of similar moves in the self-declared republics in the eastern Donbas region.
Previously on Tuesday morning, the hawkish long-term ally of Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, suggested in a post on Telegram that the self-proclaimed separatist regions of eastern Ukraine should hold referendums to join the Russian Federation.
He said that referendums in the Donbas are essential and must be held as soon as possible not only for the restoration of historic justice, but for the systematic protection of residents of the LPR, DPR, and other liberated territories.
Noting that the acceptance of new territories into Russia will make irreversible the geopolitical transformation Medvedev argues that incorporating the occupied areas of Ukraine into Russia would change the dynamic of the war.
He claims that these referendums are feared in Kyiv and the West since producing a “yes” vote for areas like Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia joining Russia, would in effect make any attempts to take back Ukrainian territory a direct attack on Russia itself.
Calling such strategies by Russian officials sham referenda, US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said last month that Washington expects Moscow to manipulate the results to falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia.