Ukrainians involved in Russian-backed referendums face treason charges, prison term

Sept 27, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Ukrainians who help Russian-backed referendums to annex large swathes of the country will face treason charges and at least five years in jail, Ukraine’s presidential adviser said, as voting in four regions entered its last day.

“We have lists of names of people who have been involved in some way,” presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick.

“We are talking about hundreds of collaborators. They will be prosecuted for treason. They face prison sentences of at least five years.”

Moscow hopes to annex the provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, in the east and south, which make up about 15 percent of Ukraine.

None of the provinces are fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been under way along the entire front line, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.

Voting on whether to join Russia began on Friday in the regions and is due to end on Tuesday, with the Russian parliament possibly approving the annexation within days.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that Putin is likely to announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on Sept. 30.

Kyiv and the West have dismissed the referendums as a sham and pledged not to recognize the results.

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