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Ukraine war: Occupied eastern regions start voting in 'sham referenda'

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euronews.com

Four occupied regions in Ukraine are set to start voting Friday in Kremlin-engineered referendums on whether to become part of Russia, setting the stage for Moscow to annex the areas in a sharp escalation of the nearly seven-month war.Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the votes as illegitimate and neither free nor fair, saying they will have no binding force.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden both branded the votes as "sham referenda" this week, while French President Emmanuel Macron said they would have “no legal consequences,” and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called them “noise” to distract the public.Authorities in the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions that make up Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland known as the Donbas abruptly announced just three days ago that referendums on joining Russia would be held starting Friday.

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