UK says Russia looking to hold referendums in newly occupied areas of S. Ukraine

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Service members of pro-Russian troops drive tanks in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict near the settlement of Olenivka

(Reuters) - Russian-installed authorities in newly occupied territories in southern Ukraine are under pressure and possibly preparing to hold referendums on joining Russia later this year, Britain military said on Saturday.

"Local authorities are likely coercing the population into disclosing personal details in order to compose voting registers," the Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Twitter.

Russia classifies these occupied areas as being under interim "civil-military administration".

Ukraine has probably repelled small-scale Russian assaults from the long-established front line near Donetsk in the eastern region of Donbas, while in the Kherson area, Russia likely has established two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for nearby bridges damaged in recent strikes, the update said.

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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