"Return to home port": Luhansk separatists ask Putin for annexation

With flowery words, the Luhansk separatist leader is asking Kremlin chief Putin to join Russia.

"Return to home port": Luhansk separatists ask Putin for annexation

With flowery words, the Luhansk separatist leader is asking Kremlin chief Putin to join Russia. That fulfills a "dream" of the residents on "returning to their home port," he says. The Kremlin officials in Cherson have similar stories. Kyiv speaks of a farce.

After the conclusion of the "referendums" in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, the separatists in Luhansk and Cherson asked Russia to annex these regions. The separatist leader in Luhansk, Leonid Pasechnik, called Russia the "home port" to which the population wanted to return. In a message to President Vladimir Putin, Pasechnik said he was asking him "to examine the question of joining the Luhansk People's Republic to Russia as a member of the Russian Federation."

In his statement, Pasechnik said, "We recognize the historical, cultural and spiritual connection to the multinational people of Russia." The residents of his region have the "dream" of returning to their "home port" of Russia. Pasechnik had recently announced that he would travel to Moscow with the pro-Russian leader in the Donetsk region, Denis Puschilin, to formalize the union with Russia.

The separatist leader in Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, made a similar statement to Pasetchnik. The residents of Kherson made a "historic decision" and decided to "become part of the multinational population of the Russian Federation". Saldo spoke of a "completely legal" electoral process and referred to the right of peoples to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter. The Zaporizhia region will also turn to Putin with a request for admission, said occupation representative Vladimir Rogov.

The day before, the pro-Russian authorities had reported a high level of approval for the annexation in the so-called referendums. In the southern Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhia and Cherson, as well as in the eastern Ukrainian separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, approval rates of between 87.05 and 99.23 percent are said to have existed for the annexation by Russia.

However, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the so-called referendums on Twitter as "illegal" and their results as "falsified". In a video speech on Tuesday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the votes a "farce" and announced that Ukraine would "defend" its citizens in the Russian-occupied territories. This also applies to the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.

The Ukrainian government, in response to the "referendums," has called on the West to "significantly" increase its military support. Specifically, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry requested fighter jets, tanks, armored vehicles, long-range artillery, and anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense equipment.

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