Ukraine Announced Liberation of Occupied Territories in Donetsk as Russia Holds Annexation Referendums

A destroyed Russian tank is seen near the town recently liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (GLEB GARANICH/)

The Ukrainian Army announced this Friday that it had liberated a town in Donetsk, in the east of the country, from the Russian invasion, at a time when the pro-Russian authorities of the occupied regions are organizing referendums on annexation to Russia.

“The Ukrainian Army recaptured Yatskivka”, Oleksii Gromov, a head of the Ukrainian military General Staff, announced on television. The seizure of this town on the eastern bank of the Oskil River seems to confirm the continuation of a counteroffensive that has already allowed Ukraine to liberate several thousand square kilometers in the neighboring Kharkiv region.

The faithful authorities Moscow in the occupied regions of Ukraine started this friday Russian annexation referendumsconsidered illegal by Kyiv and its Western allies they won’t recognize their results.

Ukrainian soldiers walk past the wreckage of a disabled Russian tank in Izium (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)
Ukrainian soldiers walk next to the remains of a Russian tank out of combat in Izium (REUTERS / Gleb Garanich) (GLEB GARANICH /)

The votes held in the eastern regions of Donetsk Y Lugansk and in the southern Kherson Y Zaporizhzhia began at 5 a.m. local time, Russian news agencies said, and will last five days.

These referendums add tension to a week marked by the mobilization of 300,000 reservists announced by the Russian president Vladimir Putinthat also threatened to use its nuclear arsenal to protect its territory.

A hypothetical integration Russia of these four regions, which observers take for granted, would imply that Moscowfollowing his doctrine, could use its atomic weapons to defend them of the counteroffensive launched by Ukraine in the east and south of the country.

A man casts his ballot during the first day of a referendum on joining Ukraine's regions to Russia, at a polling station in Moscow.
A man casts his vote during the first day of a referendum on the union of Ukraine’s regions with Russia, at a polling station in Moscow (MOSCOW NEWS AGENCY/)

“We cannot let President Putin get away with it,” he told a meeting of the UN Security Council US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenaccusing Putin of “adding fuel to the fire”.

“The international order that we are trying to save here is being destroyed before our eyes,” he added.

The referendums recall what happened in 2014 on the peninsula of crimeaattached to Russia after a vote deemed fraudulent by Western capitals.

This week, after the call for these votes on Tuesday, Western leaders denounced its illegitimate character.

At the UN, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrovrejected the accusations and blamed the situation on “Nazi totalitarian state” of Kyiv.

“There is an attempt to impute to us a completely different narrative about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy,” he said.

In the eastern regions of Donetsk Y Luganskrecognized as independent nations by Moscow just before the invasion, the residents will have to respond if they support “entry to Russia”, according to the agency TASS.

(With information from AFP)


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