MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. The third day of voting in referendums on joining Russia is over in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR, DPR), as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. The referendums have been recognized as valid in the first three regions as voter turnout has passed 50%. The voting process continues amid shelling attacks by the Ukrainian military. TASS looks at the main developments in Ukraine and around it.
A Russian strike killed about 100 mercenaries near the city of Zaporozhye, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Sunday. Up to 300 foreign mercenaries were killed in a strike in the Nikolayev Region. The Russian Aerospace Forces downed two Ukrainian MiG-29 aircraft redesigned to carry the US-made HARM missiles. Russian artillery forces also prevented the Ukrainian army from launching an offensive towards the city of Maryinka in the DPR. In addition, Russian troops stopped the Ukrainian forces from attacking the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, intercepting eight kamikaze drones.
Some major shelling attacks took place during the referendums over the weekend. One of the strikes hit a hotel in downtown Kherson, where journalists were staying. The attack killed former Ukrainian lawmaker and active politician Alexey Zhuravko. Two members of a mobile election commission suffered wounds in the DPR.
Referendums in Donbass
The referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have been recognized as valid as over 50% of voters have already cast their ballots. Voter turnout currently stands at 76.09% in the LPR and at 77.12% in the DPR. International observers told a briefing in Donetsk that the voting process was in line with all international principles. According to DPR leader Denis Pushilin, observers haven’t recorded any irregularities in the republic.
Referendums in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions
Voter turnout has reached 51.55% in the Zaporozhye Region (including votes cast overseas) and 48.91% in the Kherson Region. Foreign observers, including those from Serbia, Germany, France and Turkey, haven’t reported any irregularities during the plebiscites in the two regions so far.
Bills on liberated territories
The procedure on the accession of the liberated territories to Russia may take place on September 30, a source in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament) told TASS. He did not rule out that Russian President Vladimir Putin would take part in the accession ceremony.