Ukraine: in Donbass referendum for annexation to Russia, towards total war?
On Wednesday 19 September, the authorities of the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, which are part of the so-called Donbass region, appealed to their respective leaders, Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin, to call for a referendum for the annexation to Russia. In addition to them, the deputy head of the administration of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, also a member of the Donbass, reported similar requests from local residents. The two republics have called the referendum between 23 and 27 September. The referendum for secession from Ukraine, the creation of a state and its annexion to the Russian Federation, of the Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia will take place, however, only on 23th September.
The head of the self-proclaimed separatist republic of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, asked the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to consider as soon as possible the question of the union of the Donetsk People's Republic with the Russian Federation in the event of a positive decision on the based on the results of the referendum.
Pushilin on Telegram:
This event will be the restoration of historical justice, the desired outcome of millions of Russians, the people of Donbass, who have been suffering for some time, deserve to be part of the great country that has always considered their homeland.
In fact, we are talking about Russian-speaking territories, with a clear majority of the Russian population who do not feel Ukrainian. Moreover, it was heavily bombed in 2014, with continuous harassment by the Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, has approved a series of amendments to the penal code which provide for the strengthening of penalties in the event of mobilization, martial law, wartime and armed conflict. For draft evasion, a penalty of up to ten years of imprisonment is envisaged.
Why will Referendum in Donbass lead to a war escalation or even World War III? To explain it with the usual threatening and decisive tones is Dmitry Medvedev, number two of Russia, on Telegram:
Referendums in the Donbass are of great importance not only for the systemic protection of the inhabitants of LNR, DNR and other liberated territories, but also for the restoration of historical justice. They completely change the vector of Russia's development for decades. And not just our country. Because after their implementation and the acceptance of new territories in Russia, the geopolitical transformation in the world will become irreversible. The invasion of the territory of Russia is a crime, the commission of which allows the use of all self-defense forces. But it is no less important that after the amendments to the Constitution of our state, no future leader of Russia, no single official will be able to overturn these decisions. That is why these referendums are so feared in Kiev and in the West. That's why they need to be done.
As we can read clearly, the annexation of the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson regions and part of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast would mark a significant escalation in the conflict, as further attempts by Kiev to recapture the occupied areas could thus be hailed as attacks on Russian territory, allowing the Kremlin to justify a general mobilization. Therefore, Russia will feel entitled to attack Ukraine and its possible Western supporters even more severely.
The advisor to the Ukrainian presidency, Mikhailo Podolyak, writes on Twitter, commenting on the news of the referendum for the annexation:
The Russians have decided to respond asymmetrically to the Ukrainian counter-offensive. They think the illegal referendum will prevent the Himars and the Armed Forces from destroying the occupiers on our land. Do you really want to waste the time it takes to escape for a new show? Try it ... It will be interesting ...