Russian occupied regions of Ukraine hold controversial votes

As occupied regions of Ukraine held votes on whether to join Russia, Russian men fled the country as a result of the mobilization of troops to bolster his invasion.

As four occupied regions of Ukraine began holding controversial referendums on whether to join Russia on Friday, Russian men continued to flee the country as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s plans to raise more troops to bolster his faltering invasion of his smaller neighbor.

The voting in Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions has already been condemned as a sham by Kyiv and its Western allies, including the United States.

Friday was the first day of a five-day period of voting in the regions after their Russian-installed officials rushed to announce the referendums earlier this week. 

The Russian state news agency Tass reported that for "safety reasons," election officials would take ballots to people’s homes. Voting at actual polling stations would only take place on the last day. It said polling stations have also been set up inside Russia for Ukrainian residents who had evacuated there.

The questions on the ballots will ask voters if their regions should join Russia, the news agency said, adding there was no mention of an option to stay as part of Ukraine.

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