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Russian lawmaker expects Zaporozhye Region to be fully liberated before referendum

Viktor Vodolatsky noted that preparations for the referendum included a number of institutional arrangements

MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. The Zaporozhye Region will be fully liberated before a referendum on its accession to Russia takes place, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky told TASS.

So far, 72-73% of the Zaporozhye Region has been liberated, though the region’s capital, Zaporozhye, remains under Kiev’s control. The city of Melitopol is temporarily serving as the region’s administrative center. On Monday, head of the regional military-civil administration Yevgeny Balitsky announced the signing of a decree to hold a referendum on the region’s accession to Russia.

"Preparations for the referendum include a number of institutional arrangements. These activities will take time so the Zaporozhye Region will be fully liberated before the vote, when people will finally have a chance to express their will through a plebiscite," Vodolatsky pointed out.

According to him, much will depend on the region’s residents. "If they demand that the regional authorities, the military-civilian administration, hold a referendum, if they are ready for it, then the authorities must fulfill the people’s demands. They want shelling attacks to end as soon as possible so no one can destroy their homes and kill their children," the senior Russian lawmaker noted.

First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Vladimir Dzhabarov told TASS on Monday that if the Zaporozhye Region’s residents decided to join Russia at a referendum, Moscow would not push them away. He also emphasized the need to liberate the entire region so that all of its residents could take part in the referendum.