Ukraine's Kherson region may hold vote on joining Russia
The southern Ukrainian Kherson Region may hold a vote to establish whether its people want to break away from Kiev and ask Moscow to accept it as a new region of Russia.
On Tuesday, a petition to put the question to a plebiscite was sent to Vladimir Saldo, who leads the administration in the region, which has mostly been under Russian control for months. The call came from a public council, which is tasked with representing the local people.
Earlier, the deputy-head of the military-civilian administration, Kirill Stremousov, said the region’s residents “want guarantees that we will become a part of the Russian Federation.”
Many people in Kherson ”are afraid that Russia might leave,” Stremousov said.
The Kherson civic chamber, which initiated the vote, cited constant attacks by Ukrainian forces as one of the key reasons for the region seeking to formally cede from Kiev. It said being formally accepted as a part of Russia would boost its security.
“We are certain that the initiative would be fully supported by the people of Kherson Region, and its addition to Russia would not only restore historic justice, but also open a new path towards the revival and reconstruction of our land and the return to genuine peaceful life,” said Vladimir Ovcharenko, the chair of the civic chamber.
The Kherson Region region is located in the southern part of Ukraine and borders Crimea, the former Ukrainian territory that broke away in 2014 after an armed coup in Kiev. Russia took over the city of Kherson and most of the region in March as part of its military operation in Ukraine.
Tuesday's news about Kherson comes on the heels of similar developments in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the two Donbass regions that Moscow recognizes as sovereign states. On Monday, both announced plans on initiating a vote to join Russia.