G7 condemns Russia’s ‘sham’ referendums

London, Sep 24 (Agency) The G7 group of wealthiest nations have condemned what it says are “sham referendums” being held in parts of Ukraine to decide whether they want to join Russia. The group called the votes — which are being organised by Moscow-backed officials — a breach of the UN charter, the BBC reported. Ukraine has already dismissed the process as a farce with no legitimacy. Western officials say this is a propaganda exercise, and that the result has already been decided by the Kremlin, the BBC said. They say this could be used as an excuse by Moscow to illegally grab Ukrainian land even as Russia claims it’s giving people in occupied areas an opportunity to express their views.

Residents say Russian forces have been going door-to-door, using threats and intimidation to make people vote, the BBC report said Saturday. These claims come as Ukrainian officials say the population has been banned from leaving some areas. Russian-backed officials in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are holding self-styled referendums on joining Russia. The four regions involved are either partially or completely under Russian occupation.Russia plans to call up reservists to fight in Ukraine after suffering setbacks is already in motion.Queues have sprung up along Russia’s borders as men attempt to leave the country to avoid a military call-up amid thousands of arrest in Russian cities during anti-war demonstrations.