Russia has started early voting in occupied areas of Ukraine for regional elections deemed illegal under international law.
(Bloomberg) — Russia has started early voting in occupied areas of Ukraine for regional elections deemed illegal under international law.
Polls opened on Aug. 31 in the Russian-controlled areas of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions in Ukraine because they are close to the front line and can be hard to access, according to the official government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta and local election authorities. Election commission members are collecting votes door-to-door in 375 villages in both regions and aim to cover more than 214,000 people. Voting will last through the next weekend.
Russia declared it was annexing the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine a year ago even as it didn’t fully control them. In May, Russian lawmakers passed measures to permit elections to take place under martial law, as the Kremlin prepared for regional and presidential elections that could hand Vladimir Putin a fifth term in 2024.
The occupied regions of Luhansk and Kherson will have elections for local parliament and municipal offices starting this week.
Russia is holding regional, municipal and some federal elections on Sept. 10. Early voting isn’t unusual in Russia, a country with vast territory and remote areas in Siberia and the Far East that are hard to reach. Early voting in many of those areas started on Aug. 25, authorities said earlier.
Russia also staged a sham vote on annexing the regions in September of 2022. Ukraine and its allies denounced those referendums as illegal.
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