One of the Russian negotiators during meetings with Kiev said that the Ukraine territories militarily occupied by Russia could hold a referendum on annexation in early July.
“I do not want to make predictions (…), but I hope the liberated territories will hold a referendum at the same time, which is logical,” said Leonid Slotsky, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee under the Russian parliament. House (Duma), quoted by Rhea Novosti Agency.
“I think this will happen in July,” said the deputy, who is part of the Russian delegation for peace talks with Ukraine, which has been suspended for weeks.
Russia regards occupied Ukrainian territories occupied by separatist movements as “liberated territories”: the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lukansk recognized Moscow’s independence, and parts of Gershon and Saporizhia were partially occupied in late February.
Since its occupation, administrations under Moscow’s control have introduced the Russian ruble as a currency and granted Russian citizenship to its citizens and established Russian contact networks.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently stressed that residents of these regions “must choose their future” and expressed confidence that they would choose their autonomy and independence from Kiev.
The military offensive launched by Russia in the early hours of February 24 in Ukraine has already killed more than 4,000 civilians and forced more than 14 million people to flee their homes, with more than 6.8 million fleeing to neighboring countries. Latest UN data.