Members of an election commission count ballots after voting during a referendum at a polling station in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sept 27, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
MOSCOW/KYIV — The Kremlin on Tuesday announced the results of referendums held in four regions to determine whether they want to become part of Russia.
Authorities in Zaporizhzhia said 93.11 percent of voters backed joining Russia, according to preliminary results on Tuesday evening.
In Kherson, officials said more than 87.05 percent of electors supported the move after all the ballots were counted.
In the eastern Lugansk region, local authorities said more than 98.42 percent voted in favor of the incorporation, according to local authorities. And officials in the Donetsk region claimed victory as well, with the local poll body saying 99.23 percent of the vote was for incorporation.
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"Saving people in the territories where this referendum is taking place … is the focus of the attention of our entire society and of the entire country," Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier during a televised meeting with officials.
In the eastern Lugansk region, local authorities said more than 98.42 percent voted in favor of the incorporation, according to local authorities, and officials in the Donetsk region claimed victory as well, with the local poll body saying 99.23 percent of the vote was for incorporation
Putin is expected to address the parliament about the referendums on Friday, and Valentina Matviyenko, who chairs the body's upper house, said lawmakers could consider legislation of incorporation on Oct 4.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the votes would have "radical" legal implications and that the referendums "will also have consequences for security".
The referendums in the Lugansk and Kherson regions and parts of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia began on Friday.
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The ballots asked residents whether they wanted the areas to be incorporated into Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russia's just-concluded referendums and ruled out any talks with Moscow as long as Putin remains president.
He also called for Russia's "complete isolation" and tough new global sanctions.
Speaking to the UN Security Council by video over Russian objections, Zelensky urged additional military and financial support to defend Ukraine "so the aggressor would lose", and "clear and legally binding guarantees of collective security" for his country.
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