People have rallied across Russia to support referendums that will determine whether the Donbas republics and Russian-held territories in southern Ukraine officially join Russia.
Thousands of people showed up in Moscow near the Kremlin, holding Russian flags, as well as flags of the country’s regions and political parties.
Celebrities, including actors and pop stars, take part in the “We Don’t Abandon Our Own” event.
The organizers, the Pan-Russian Popular Front (ONF), said the rally “Reflects the aspirations of all Russians and will help express the support of Muscovites for the inhabitants of the liberated territories.” Similar events took place in other cities.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, launched a five-day vote on joining Russia on Friday. These lands are predominantly Russian-speaking and have historical ties to Russia.
Ukraine, the United States and the EU rejected the referendum as a “fake,” vowing to ignore the results.
Donbass republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions launch vote on joining Russia
The DPR and LPR split from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kyiv. Moscow recognized them as independent states in February. The Kherson region, along with large chunks of the Zaporozhye region, was seized by Russian troops after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring country.
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