Alwaght- The republics in eastern Ukraine that about six months ago announced their independence are now voting to join the Russian Federation.
The votes will take place from today until Tuesday next week. Preliminary results are expected to be released by Wednesday.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. They are predominantly Russian-speaking and share a border with Russia. Moscow recognized them as independent states in February.
Russia currently controls Ukraine’s Kherson Region, as well as large parts of Zaporozhye Region, which were seized after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring country on February 24.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that he would not recognize the referendum. The EU, a major supporter of Kiev, said that the vote was a "sham."
The leaders of DPR and LPR on Thursday said there are "worrying signals" that the Ukrainian forces will launch an offensive in eastern regions.
Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine to protect the ethnic Russians in the east who have been under Ukrainian attacks since 2014.