SBU identifies, charges main organizers of sham referendums in Donbas

26 September 2022, 10:35 PM
A man tramples the flag of the Russian Federation in Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTER)

A man tramples the flag of the Russian Federation in Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTER)

Ukraine’s SBU security service has notified the organizers of sham referendums in the Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that they are on the wanted list, the press service of the SBU stated on Sept. 26.

Those notified of suspicion in collaboration activities (under Part 5 of Article 111-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and infringement of the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine (Part 2 of Article 110) included:

  • "Head of the central election commission" of the pseudo-republic "DPR" Volodymyr Vysotsky;
  • “Head of the central election commission” of the so-called “LPR”, Olena Kravchenko;
  • "Head of the DPR Public Chamber" Oleksandr Kofman;
  • "Adviser to the head of the LPR" Marina Filipova.

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According to the SBU, Kofman and Filipova were involved in the creation of so-called “public chambers” in the occupied Ukrainian territories, which imitate public initiatives. They sent appeals to the leaders of the so-called “L/DPR” about holding a fake referendum and immediate“joining” with Russia.

The investigation established that the suspects were involved in campaigning and propaganda activities that were supposed to form among the inhabitants of the occupied territories a “favorable attitude towards Russia,” its full-scale war against Ukraine and fake “referendums.”

“The direct conduct of illegal voting is provided by the so-called Central Elections Commissions of the “L/DPR”,” the SBU added. “Representatives of the “electoral commissions” were trained at special seminars organized by the Kremlin supervisors in Rostov-on-Don.”

In particular, the heads of the fake central election commissions of the “L/DPR” instructed their subordinates to organize door-to-door tours from Sept. 23-27 in order to force people on the occupied territory to participate in an imitation of an “expression of will,” and to ensure control over the holding of a pseudo-referendum by Russian enforcers from the 1st and 2nd corps of the invading Russian forces.

On Sept. 23, the SBU reported that, together with the Office of the Prosecutor General, they had identified the main organizers and participants in the preparation of fake referendums and identified more than 4,000 members of enemy groups, traitors and collaborators who are involved in staging the sham voting in Ukrainian territories.

Russia announced that its so-called “referendums” would be held across occupied Ukrainian Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson oblasts on Sept. 23-27, in an attempt to legitimize its occupations of Ukrainian territories. Russia has control only over parts of these regions, while the provincial capital of Zaporizhzhya Oblast remains under Ukrainian control.

Ukraine and the vast majority of Western countries have declared that the results of the sham referendums will not be recognized. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also stressed that holding a fake vote and an attempt to annex Ukrainian territories would not stop their liberation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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