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First day of referendums held in Donbass and liberated territories

Voting in referendums on joining Russia started on Friday in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. The process will continue until next Tuesday, September 27.

The first day of voting in these areas and at the voting stations set up in Russia went without a hitch, despite the ongoing hostilities.

TASS compiled the main events of the first day of the referendums.

Voting in Donbass

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics’ first referendum day went smoothly. At the same time, both republics reported shelling from Ukraine – a man was killed west of Donetsk that evening, and in the city of Rubizhnoye in the Lugansk People’s Republic people had to vote in a bomb shelter.

  • Due to the possibility of Ukrainian strikes, a number of voting stations, notably those in Alchevsk and Severodonetsk, closed earlier than expected.

Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin stated in his Telegram channel that the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to “attempt to conduct various provocations, but the allied forces are in complete control of the situation along the entire line of contact.”

Zaporozhye region and Kherson

According to local authorities’ statements, the first day of voting went well in the liberated regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson.

However, there were reports of shelling from Kiev. In particular, the Ukrainian military shelled Kherson in the morning, but the attack was repelled by air defense systems, Deputy Head of the Kherson region’s Military-Civilian Administration Kirill Stremousov said. In addition, Novaya Kakhovka was shelled more than ten times during the day.

Several incidents were reported simultaneously in the Zaporozhye region, from a drone dropping an explosive device in Melitopol to saboteurs breaking through close to the town of Pologi. There were no casualty reports.

  • Employees of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, whose territory is frequently shelled, were also able to participate in a referendum – an off-site election commission was sent to the plant at their request.

First day turnout

  • More than 20% of citizens were said to have cast ballots in the Donbass republics as of 20:00 (the same time as Moscow). 2
  • 3.64% of those on the election lists in the Donetsk People’s Republic and 21.97% of those in the Lugansk People’s Republic participated in the voting.
  • On Friday, there were 15.31% of voters in the Kherson region and 20.52% in the liberated territories of the Zaporozhye region.

International observers

  • The voting process is monitored by international observers, notably those from the United States and Europe. According to Chair of the Central Electoral Commission of the Lugansk People’s Republic Elena Kravchenko, 50 observers from European countries declared their presence in the republic.

In the Donetsk People’s Republic, 129 representatives of foreign countries, in particular Venezuela and South Africa, oversee the voting, and almost 550 journalists from the UK, Italy, China, Qatar, France, and other countries cover the voting process.

Representatives of France and the United States arrived in Kherson region to oversee the referendum, and observers from Africa, Europe, and South America arrived in Zaporozhye.

Voting stations in Russia

  • A total of 84 polling stations were opened in the Russian regions where many residents of Donbass and the liberated territories had moved, according to Russia’s Central Election Commission.

Source: TASS

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