United Russia members sent to prepare sham referendums in occupied Ukraine – ISW

30 July, 11:24 AM
Members of the United Russia party went to the occupied Ukrainian territories (Photo:kremlin.ru)

Members of the United Russia party went to the occupied Ukrainian territories (Photo:kremlin.ru)

Members of the United Russia party have been sent to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine to prepare sham referendums in an attempt to justify Russia’s illegal seizure of more Ukrainian territory, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War, or ISW, said in its assessment for July 29.

“(They) traveled to occupied Ukrainian territories to promote an organization called ‘We Are Together with Russia,’ likely to present the façade of a ‘grassroots’ call for the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine and to prepare for falsified annexation referenda,” the ISW wrote.

Senior United Russia member Oleg Melnichenko opened a “humanitarian office” for “We Are Together with Russia” in Tokmak, Zaporizhzhya Oblast on July 29, ISW said.

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Regarding the murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka, the analysts noted that it cannot be reliably assessed which of the parties is responsible in the Russian-occupied town, but the ISW assumes that the available visual evidence “appears to support the Ukrainian claims more than the Russian (ones).”

“ISW is unable to assess the nature of the event or the party responsible for it with any confidence at this time,” the experts said, adding, “We will update our assessment as more information becomes available.”

ISW conclusions:

  • Ground battles continued north of the city of Kharkiv without significant changes in control over the area.
  • Russian troops carried out a limited ground assault in Kherson Oblast and continued hostilities without creating strike groups along the occupied frontiers.
  • Russian regional media reported on the recruitment and creation of an additional volunteer battalion in the Republic of Buryatia and the formation of a reserve battalion in Novosibirsk.
  • The analysts also said that the possibility of a Ukrainian counter-offensive on occupied Kherson may hinder Russian attempts to prepare for sham referendums on annexation.

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