Russian Officials “Pause” Plans for Kherson Referendum to Join Russia Amid Ukrainian Offensive

Russian Officials “Pause” Plans for Kherson Referendum to Join Russia Amid Ukrainian Offensive


Russian media has reported that plans for a referendum in Kherson to join Russia have been postponed due to security concerns, which comes as Ukrainian forces launched a large-scale offensive in the Oblast.

Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy head of the Kherson Military-Civilian Administration, told TASS that plans to carry out the annexation referendum have been “paused” due to the current “security situation,” adding that the key Antonivskyi Bridge is now impassable due to continued Ukrainian strikes. Stremousov did not provide any updates as to when plans may continue again, as it is likely dependent on the success or failure of the Ukrainian offensive. 

In recent months, Russian officials and Russian-installed officials in Kherson and neighboring Zaporizhzhia have signaled intentions for holding independence referendums that would eventually result in annexation by Russia. In August, Russian-installed Governor of Zaporizhzhia, Yevgeny Balitsky signed a decree announcing that a referendum would be held for the Oblast to join Russia. However, in this case and like others for Kherson, exact timelines have remained unspecified. It was widely believed that such referendums would be held this month to coincide with Russian regional elections, but such a timeline is unclear now.

Ukrainian officials have condemned the idea of referendums being held and have continuously vowed to not give up any Ukrainian land. Likewise, Ukrainian intelligence have asserted that any referendums held would be rigged in Russia’s favor. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has previously said that “Our country’s position remains what it always has been. We will give up nothing of what is ours,” further warning that “If the occupiers proceed along the path of pseudo-referendums they will close for themselves any chance of talks with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will clearly need at some point.”

The idea of referendums have been a part of Russia’s tactics to pave the way for long-term control over Ukrainian territory. There have been several indicators of “Russification” in these regions already, such as attempts to implement the Russian Ruble, fast track Russian citizenship for residents in these regions, and the implementation of Russian-installed officials.

Russian military leaders have stated that control over Ukraine’s south is one of their main tactical objectives outside of fully securing the Donbas region. Back in May, Secretary of the Russian General Council, Andrey Turchak, announced during a trip to the city of Kherson that Russian forces plan to stay in southern Ukraine indefinitely. He stated “Russia is here forever. There should be no doubt about this. There will be no return to the past.” To Russia, controlling the vast agricultural, energy, and metallurgical infrastructure in the south is vital to both restricting Ukraine economically, but also enriching Russian economic interests.

Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.
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