Great unrest linked to the unfree referendums in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

In the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as in the occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, referendums on joining Russia are taking place contrary to international law.

Zaporizhzhya now has until Tuesday to answer whether they are for or against becoming part of Russia.

Over half of their county is occupied by the Russians. The city of Zaporizhzhya is only 6 miles from the Russian-controlled area. The city is still free, but the inhabitants are worried about the unfree election that the Russian occupiers are now holding.

Shaken by what is happening

– It is our country and our home. This makes us nervous. We don’t like it at all, says Antonia, who proudly shows off her sweater when NRK meets her in Zaporizhzhya city.

Antonia proudly shows off her sweater when NRK meets her in Zaporizhia city.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

My friend Oksana is pissed.

– Putin is a cow’s head. He has many problems in his own country and should clean up there instead, she says.

On a bench in the center of Zaporizhzhya, NRK meets a couple who are shocked by what is happening.

Inna (27) and Anatoliy (29) are shocked by what is happening in their country.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

– It is not the people’s wish, but they vote with automatic weapons to their heads. They have no choice. They must participate in the referendum, but it is an illegal election, says Inna.

Forcing people to vote

Volodymyr Marchhuk, the spokesman for the governor of Zaporizhzhya, receives continuous updates about the referendum in violation of international law in the occupied part of his county.

The administration building for the county is now almost empty. Because of security, few people work there. Just a few days ago, a Russian missile landed 300 meters from the building.

Volodymyr Marchhuk, spokesman for the Zaporizhzhya County Administration.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

– So-called representatives of the electoral commission go to people’s homes, followed by two armed soldiers. This is how they carry out the “referendum”. They force people to put their ballot in the ballot box, says Volodymyr Marchhuk.

A restaurant belonging to a hotel in Zaporizhzhya was destroyed by a missile attack this week.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

Several flee

Several have fled from the Russian-occupied areas.

Svetlana (27) from Melitopol has just arrived on a bus from the Russian-controlled side when NRK meets her. She says that the Russians have been planning the election for a long time, but that it has been postponed time and time again. She sits with tears in her eyes when she tells about what happened.

Svetlana (27) has just left the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

– It hurts. This war will destroy many lives and families, she says.

Ludmila (63) from the Kherson region has traveled from home to home to get out of the Russian-occupied area. Now she is on her way to tell her daughter where she will live.

– I left my house and took the dogs with me. Now I start to cry, she says to NRK.

Ludmila (63) has just come out of the Russian-occupied part of Kherson county. She has a lot of luggage and two dogs with her.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer / NRK

The international community has condemned the so-called referendums.

Ukraine and their allies have already said that they will not recognize the results.

NATO has described the unfree referendums and Russia’s partial mobilization of reserve forces as a further escalation of the war.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Great unrest linked unfree referendums Russianoccupied areas Ukraine NRK Urix Foreign news documentaries

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