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Russia claims to secure up to 98% support for annexation in controversial referenda: report


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Russia on Tuesday claimed to have garnered up to a 98% support rating as tallying continues in four regions of Ukraine as Moscow looks to illegally annex areas from its southern neighbor. 

Polls closed Tuesday in the controversial referenda held in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as Russia looks for a pretext to support its attempts to seize control of the eastern and southern regions. 

A Luhansk People's Republic serviceman votes in a polling station in Luhansk, Luhansk People's Republic, controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Voting began Friday in four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia. 

A Luhansk People’s Republic serviceman votes in a polling station in Luhansk, Luhansk People’s Republic, controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Voting began Friday in four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia. 
(AP Photo)

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According to alleged results released by Russian media, roughly 98% of the votes so far tallied in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions claim to have expressed support in joining Russia, while the Kherson region came in slightly lower with nearly 97% of voters backing annexation.

Kyiv and Western officials have long decried the referenda as “shams” and warned Moscow would mimic steps taken in 2014 when it held a “vote” over the annexation of Crimea which allegedly showed that some 97% of voters supported the move. 

Reporting later showed that only 30% of Crimeans are believed to have participated in the vote, and just 15% actually supported Crimea joining Russia.

People walk past a billboard reading "Forever with Russia" in Luhansk, Luhansk People's Republic controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. 

People walk past a billboard reading “Forever with Russia” in Luhansk, Luhansk People’s Republic controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. 
(AP Photo)

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Moscow has warned that if it gains enough “support” to annex the four war torn regions, it will treat any attack on them as a direct attack on Russian territory. 

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to continue fighting until his forces have completely removed all Russian troops from Ukraine, including Crimea. 

“The situation is particularly tough in the Donetsk region. We are doing everything to curb enemy activity,” he said in an overnight address.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy displayed on a screen as he addresses the audience from Kyiv on a screen during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, May 23, 2022. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy displayed on a screen as he addresses the audience from Kyiv on a screen during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, May 23, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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“This is where our number one goal is right now, as Donbas is still the number one goal for the occupiers,” he added.

Zelenskyy has repeated said he will not recognize any results from the referenda he has deemed a “farce” and said it will not alter Kyiv’s plans in the war against Russia. 

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