Ukraine's Kherson and Zaporozhye (Zaporizhzhya) regions prepare a referendum to join Russia.
According to unconfirmed reports, the new authorities of the regions will hold a vote on 11 September. Taking into consideration Russian laws and the fact that many local residents hold Russian passports, there seem to be no obstacles to holding the referendum.
Following Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, similar referendums are likely to be held in Odessa, Kharkiv and Nikolayev regions of Ukraine.
Afterwards, a special federal referendum can be held at the initiative of the Kremlin. It may also be regional votes, like it was in 2020. In the weakest scenario, the new authorities of the above-mentioned regions will proclaim themselves as self-proclaimed republics.
A simplified procedure to apply for Russian citizenship has been in force in Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Ukraine since May 25. Volodymyr Saldo, the head of the Kherson military and civilian administration said that any Ukrainian would be able to apply for a Russian passport.
For the time being, Russia has not taken the Zaporozhye under total control, which makes a referendum not advisable.
Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chairman of the Russian presidential administration, personally visited the Kherson reigon. Kiriyenko made a number of important statements as a result of his visit:
The Kherson region will become a full-fledged region of Russia, similarly to how it was the case of Crimea. There will be no entry time discrimination.
Volodymyr Balitsky, the head of the Zaporozhye military and civil administration, said that the voting could take place in early autumn. The demand for Russian passports in the region has increased, additional offices open.
This fact suggests that the referendums will be held according to Russian laws, although it is possible that special local rules will be invented for them. In any case, the decision of the center is needed.
The creation of two new republics will facilitate their admission to Russia along with the DPR and LPR.
Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the Crimean State Council, said that the liberated regions of Ukraine would be given an opportunity to choose their political path without coercion. Donetsk and Luhansk had sought their recognition for eight years. The future of with or without Russia is a matter of choice for everyone living in Ukraine.
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