Kremlin considers incorporating occupied territories of eastern Ukraine into Russia over referendum

The idea of holding a referendum in the so-called pro-Russian “DPR” and “LPR” breakaway states of Ukraine’s east is being discussed in the Kremlin, RBC cites two sources close to Vladimir Putin’s administration.

The Kremlin is not aiming to hold referendums in all Russia-controlled territories of Ukraine simultaneously, however, although two referendums will be held in the “DPR” and “LPR” at the same time as they are believed to be perceived as one by Russians and due to the fact that Russia recognised their independence on the same day, RBC’s sources say.

Russia’s authorities have no doubt that the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine would vote in favour of joining Russia. At the same time, the situation in the regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv is not so obvious.

The two breakaway “republics” are already preparing for the referendum, although the exact date has not yet been agreed upon. It will be determined, RBC’s sources say, when Russia takes full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and has a well-established military presence in the area. “We are waiting for the army to give us the green light,” a source says.

The voting might last for two days; the poll books are already being prepared, and the Russian campaign strategists have already arrived in the occupied territories. There is no sole concept of the referendum yet, though.

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