Soldiers in a trauma hospital in Donetsk city were visited by people with ballot boxes and referendum papers on the first day of a referendum across Russian-occupied Ukraine that could see the territories incorporated into the Russian state.
Voting will be held in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, from September 23-27, Russian officials said earlier in the week, a vote that European election monitors warned would not be internationally recognized.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said on Tuesday that any election or referendum held in Ukraine could only “be announced and conducted by legitimate authorities in compliance with national legislation and international standards,” and called Russia’s plans “illegal.”
Any referendums held during the war “planned by or with the support of the forces illegally exercising de facto control in the occupied territories of Ukraine would be in contravention of international standards and obligations under international humanitarian law,” the OSCE said, “and their outcome will have no legal force.”
Video published by the Donetsk People’s Republic press office shows people carrying ballot boxes, which are transparent, into hospital rooms where people described as soldiers vote. Some are shown ticking “yes” on the ballot paper in front of the election worker and then the ballot paper is put inside the clear box.
Storyful has not translated the audio in this footage. Credit: Donetsk People’s Republic via Storyful