The head of the region’s military-civilian administration said on Tuesday that the Russian Federation would quickly annex the Kherson region after a referendum on annexation by Russia – dismissed as a sham by the West.
Voting began last week in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk regions and ends on Tuesday. Russia is expected to win all four.
“The faster the authority starts functioning, the easier people can live,” said Vladimir Zalto, who leads the Kherson governing body. “There will certainly be a transition period until our officers … are taught the laws of the Russian Federation.
“There will be this period, but I expect it won’t last long,” he said.
Salto said regional residents who receive Russian passports will not be forced into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s controversial “partial” military mobilization. The Kremlin’s plan to bring in 300,000 additional troops has sparked protests in Russia and long lines at the Russian-Georgian border as people try to leave.
►More than 60 police officers in northern Germany raided a luxury yacht linked to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors said they were investigating violations of sanctions and money laundering laws.
►The discovery of unusual leaks in two natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany has led some European leaders and experts to point to possible sabotage during an energy conflict with Russia fueled by the war in Ukraine.
►French experts have arrived in Ukraine to help document Russian war crimes near Isium.
Nearly 100,000 Russians have fled to neighboring Kazakhstan since President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 citizens last week.
Kazakhstan’s Interior Minister Marat Akhmetchanov said about 98,000 Russians who arrived in the past week would not be sent home unless they were on a list of fugitives wanted for criminal offences.
“We must take care of them and ensure their safety,” Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said. “This is a political and humanitarian issue.”
Kazakhstan, which has a large northern border with Russia, and fellow ex-Soviet republic Georgia seem to be two of the most popular destinations for those traveling from Russia by car, bicycle or on foot. Air tickets abroad sold out quickly despite steep prices.
Some European countries have closed their doors to Russians seeking asylum to escape conscription; Others expressed willingness to take them.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, told his followers that dying in the line of duty “washes away all sins.” Kirill preached support for mobilization in Russia, saying it would help “reconcile” Ukraine and Russia. Kirill is a Putin supporter who stood behind the war.
In May, Pope Francis urged Grilli not to justify the invasion. “The patriarchy cannot turn itself into Putin’s altar boy,” Francis said.
Contributed by: Associated Press