March 25, 2023

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Moscow is preparing for annexation. Stages and tribunes are set up in Red Square for supposedly popular celebrations

While the Ukrainian army has almost surrounded the city of Lyman, occupied by the Russians since May, Moscow is preparing to annex the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye.

Stages and tribunes are being set up in Moscow’s Red Square for supposed popular celebrations that are set to take place this weekend.

There are voices that say, however, that Putin could postpone the annexation of the Ukrainian territories, because his army is recording defeats on the line.

The State Department strongly urged American citizens to leave Russia. As well as the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which advised our people to leave this country urgently.

Maria Sittel: “The choice has been made. Four regions voted overwhelmingly to become new territorial entities of Russia. These are the preliminary data, after counting the votes”.

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The annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to Russia is a matter of hours, after the referendums have been validated and the result – overwhelmingly in favor of accession. The leaders put by the Russians in charge of the regions have already left for Moscow, to officially request the territories to join the Russian Federation.

Leonid Pasechnik, the leader of the Luhansk region: “Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin), I am addressing you on behalf of the people of the Luhansk region. Taking into account the referendum approved by the inhabitants of the republic, please consider the accession of the Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia, as a territorial entity of the Russian Federation”.

Everyone is waiting for the speech that Putin would give on September 30 in the plenary session of the Russian parliament. Some analysts expect the Kremlin leader to close the country’s borders, announce general mobilization. Or to give an ultimatum to Ukraine, to leave the regions where the so-called referendums were organized. Apart from the Russians, no one believes that the vote was conducted correctly.

Mykola Moroz, survivor of an attack: “I read on Telegram, it’s… everything is a lie. It’s all a lie. Yesterday they posted on Telegram how the Russians were walking the streets calling people to vote and no one came out.”

In Moscow, the mood is good among supporters of the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Viktor, resident of Moscow: “This does not mean that we want a bigger country, the thing is that (eastern Ukraine) has always been Russian territory. Now he has returned home”.

In the territories occupied by the Russians, however, the locals hope to see the end of the conflict and half-heartedly rejoice that they are about to be annexed by Russia.

Sergey Mishin, resident of Luhansk: “I am waiting for peace and prosperity to come. I hope no more people die. I am proud to live in Russia. I hope for the best and I hope there will be changes for the better”.

The Russian parliament is expected to take a decision on the annexation of eastern Ukraine only next week. Some analysts, however, are not convinced that Vladimir Putin will sign the annexation decrees, given that the Ukrainian army is recording victory after victory in Donbas, and the Russians are retreating on the front in northern Ukraine.

Dmitry Oreshkin, political analyst: “The major danger for Putin after these referendums is that if he loses the city of Liman, then the same patriotic (Russian) society will take its pacifier out of its mouth and blame Putin for not being able to protect became territories of Russia”.

Officials from Moscow have explicitly stated that Russia will be willing to accept the resumption of dialogue with Europe only if the accession of the 4 regions plus Crimea to the Russian Federation is unconditionally recognized. The European Union responded with new sanctions on Russia and categorical rejection of the claims.

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European commission: “Putin’s mobilization and threats to use nuclear weapons are new steps towards the escalation of the conflict. We do not accept the mock referendum and any kind of annexation of Ukraine, and we are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this escalation of the situation.”

On the front, the Russian army is about to lose the city of Lîman, surrounded by the Ukrainians.

The newly mobilized units have arrived in the conflict zone, but the discipline leaves much to be desired. The commander of the Russian Vostok volunteer battalion, Aleksandr Khodakovski, wrote on social media that the new arrivals are behaving like zoo animals being released into the wild. Even the commanders of the mobilized units have no idea what will happen to them next.

Officer: “I came here three days ago, just like you. They took me from vacation and put me in command of a regiment that I didn’t form for training or anything. I don’t know where we will be sent. I don’t know what weapons we will get either. At the moment, the main problem is to start the training, the rest will be delivered after that”.

The morale of the Russian military is not good either.

Dmitry: “I left two children and a wife at home, no one takes care of my elderly and helpless mother. I received the order at work, they took me straight from there, no medical examination, nothing. I have hypertension diagnosed after I finished the army”.

To escape the nightmare of war, tens of thousands of Russians continue to storm Russia’s still open borders. At the border with Kazakhstan, people wait in makeshift tents on the side of the road to continue their journey. And at this border crossing point with Georgia, road traffic was blocked for hours yesterday, due to the large number of people who wanted to escape the mobilization. The Russians were greeted with anti-war banners by some Georgian protesters who had not forgotten that Russia had invaded their country in 2008.

The article is part of:

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