February 2, 2023

Raven Tribune

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Pretext for general mobilization?: Donetsk and Luhansk want to join Russia quickly

An excuse for mass mobilization?
Donetsk and Luhansk want to join Russia quickly

Self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have been pushing for an alliance with Russia for years. While Moscow initially behaved with reticence, it has now been asked to join. According to the Ukrainian side, the Kremlin now has good reasons for this.

A campaign to quickly enter Russia in the face of advancing Ukrainian troops begins in the Moscow-backed separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. In the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, an organization called the “Citizens’ Chamber” appealed to the local leadership to hold a referendum on the Anschluss as soon as possible. A short time later, the Chamber of Citizens in the Donetsk People’s Republic made the same request, Russian news agency TASS reported. People in the Kherson region are also demanding a referendum, said Kirill Stremoussov, head of the Russian-appointed administration.

Preparations for such referendums have been underway for some time in separatist republics and territories newly annexed by Russia. In Cherson, they were initially postponed to November 4 due to Ukrainian developments. It is still too late to talk about a date, Luhansk Civic Chamber Chairman Alexei Karjakin told Russian television.

The background to the campaign is unclear. Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have been controlled to a very small extent from Moscow since 2014. So far, however, Moscow has been cautious when pressured to join Russia. This time, the accession bid received support from the Russian Parliament. “It should happen soon, it’s the will of the people,” said Duma deputy Viktor Vodolatsky of the Kremlin’s United Russia party. The vote should take place before late autumn.

Serhiy Hajdaj, head of the Ukrainian administration for Luhansk, doubted that the annexation of the Moscow regions would lead to a general mobilization. According to Moscow, the Ukrainian recapture of the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk would constitute an attack on Russian territory, he told Radio Svoboda.

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