The referendum areas have spoken, New US weapons for Ukraine and Russian reserve forces are on their way to the battle fronts

The referendum areas have spoken, New US weapons for Ukraine and Russian reserve forces are on their way to the battle fronts Service members of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic vote during a referendum in Luhansk  Moscow has welcomed 4 Ukrainian regions that chose to join the Russian Federation in referendums that Kyiv and its allies describe as sham. While Russia began training the reserve forces that it called up to fight, Ukraine demanded that the West provide them with new weapons.  The pro-Russian authorities in the regions of Zaporozhye, Kherson, Lugansk and Donetsk announced the victory of supporters of annexing these regions to Russia after these referendums, explaining that they are in the process of submitting official requests to Moscow for admission to the Russian Federation.  Officials in the regions said that the overwhelming majority of the population chose to join Russia, after a five-day vote. Note that these areas constitute about 15% of the Ukrainian territory.  According to the authorities in these regions, voters in Luhansk chose to join Russia with 98.4%, while support in Zaporozhye was 93.1%, in Kherson 87%, and in Donetsk 99.2%.  In a message on Telegram, former Russian President and current Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said, "The referendums are over... The results are clear. Welcome to your homeland, in Russia!"  Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the vote was aimed at protecting people from what he called Ukraine's persecution of Russians and Russian speakers. "Rescuing the people in all the lands where these referendums are being held is our top priority and the focus of our society and country as a whole," he added.  The Russian president is expected to ratify the accession applications at a later time, after which he can view any attempt by Ukraine to regain control of these areas as an attack on Russian soil, knowing that he has previously said he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend his country's "territorial integrity".  In urgent news reported by RIA Novosti this afternoon, the head of the Russian administration of Lugansk region submitted an official request to Putin to annex the region to Russia.   For its part, Ukraine said on Wednesday that the vote held by Moscow in 4 Ukrainian regions on joining Russia was "null and worthless", and that Kyiv would continue its efforts to liberate its lands occupied by Russian forces.  On Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell denounced these "referendums", describing them as "illegal" and "manipulated".  "This is a new violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in a framework of systematic violations of human rights," Borrell wrote in a tweet.  NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also denounced what he called "false referendums" that constitute a "flagrant violation of international law".  To the front On the military side, the Russian Defense Ministry said - today, Wednesday - that the reserve forces that were mobilized in recent days in the Kaliningrad region began combat exercises at the base of the Russian fleet in the Baltic Sea.  The ministry added, in a post on the Telegram application, that "all the mobilized soldiers adhere to the standards of shooting with small arms, and the citizens called up from the reserves will regain their skills in operating and maintaining weapons and military and special equipment."  Training courses were also held to support shooting skills and to prepare the soldier for "confident work on the battlefield".  President Vladimir Putin last week ordered the first military mobilization since World War II last week, which could see hundreds of thousands of soldiers sent to fight in Ukraine.  Instant boost For its part, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded Wednesday a "significant" increase in Western military aid. "Ukraine calls on the European Union, NATO and the Group of Seven to immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia, in particular by imposing new harsh sanctions and significantly increasing military assistance to Ukraine," she said.  In particular, it called for "tanks, combat aircraft, long-range artillery, and air and anti-missile defense systems." The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also urged its international partners to impose tough new sanctions on Moscow and provide more military aid to Kyiv, and the ministry said - in a statement - "Ukraine will never agree to any ultimatums."  In this context, US officials said - on Tuesday - that the United States is preparing a new arms package worth $1.1 billion for Ukraine, which will be announced soon.  This package will be the latest batch of weapons Washington has provided to Kiev, while Russian forces are fighting in eastern Ukraine. The officials, who declined to be identified, said the package would be announced in the coming days.  A source familiar with the plan said that the package will include HIMARS missile systems and their munitions, various types of anti-drone systems and radar systems, as well as spare parts, training and technical support.   So far, Washington has provided more than $15 billion in military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Service members of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic vote during a referendum in Luhansk

Moscow has welcomed 4 Ukrainian regions that chose to join the Russian Federation in referendums that Kyiv and its allies describe as sham. While Russia began training the reserve forces that it called up to fight, Ukraine demanded that the West provide them with new weapons.

The pro-Russian authorities in the regions of Zaporozhye, Kherson, Lugansk and Donetsk announced the victory of supporters of annexing these regions to Russia after these referendums, explaining that they are in the process of submitting official requests to Moscow for admission to the Russian Federation.

Officials in the regions said that the overwhelming majority of the population chose to join Russia, after a five-day vote. Note that these areas constitute about 15% of the Ukrainian territory.

According to the authorities in these regions, voters in Luhansk chose to join Russia with 98.4%, while support in Zaporozhye was 93.1%, in Kherson 87%, and in Donetsk 99.2%.

In a message on Telegram, former Russian President and current Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said, "The referendums are over... The results are clear. Welcome to your homeland, in Russia!"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the vote was aimed at protecting people from what he called Ukraine's persecution of Russians and Russian speakers. "Rescuing the people in all the lands where these referendums are being held is our top priority and the focus of our society and country as a whole," he added.

The Russian president is expected to ratify the accession applications at a later time, after which he can view any attempt by Ukraine to regain control of these areas as an attack on Russian soil, knowing that he has previously said he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend his country's "territorial integrity".

In urgent news reported by RIA Novosti this afternoon, the head of the Russian administration of Lugansk region submitted an official request to Putin to annex the region to Russia.


For its part, Ukraine said on Wednesday that the vote held by Moscow in 4 Ukrainian regions on joining Russia was "null and worthless", and that Kyiv would continue its efforts to liberate its lands occupied by Russian forces.

On Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell denounced these "referendums", describing them as "illegal" and "manipulated".

"This is a new violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in a framework of systematic violations of human rights," Borrell wrote in a tweet.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also denounced what he called "false referendums" that constitute a "flagrant violation of international law".

To the front
On the military side, the Russian Defense Ministry said - today, Wednesday - that the reserve forces that were mobilized in recent days in the Kaliningrad region began combat exercises at the base of the Russian fleet in the Baltic Sea.

The ministry added, in a post on the Telegram application, that "all the mobilized soldiers adhere to the standards of shooting with small arms, and the citizens called up from the reserves will regain their skills in operating and maintaining weapons and military and special equipment."

Training courses were also held to support shooting skills and to prepare the soldier for "confident work on the battlefield".

President Vladimir Putin last week ordered the first military mobilization since World War II last week, which could see hundreds of thousands of soldiers sent to fight in Ukraine.

Instant boost
For its part, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded Wednesday a "significant" increase in Western military aid. "Ukraine calls on the European Union, NATO and the Group of Seven to immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia, in particular by imposing new harsh sanctions and significantly increasing military assistance to Ukraine," she said.

In particular, it called for "tanks, combat aircraft, long-range artillery, and air and anti-missile defense systems." The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also urged its international partners to impose tough new sanctions on Moscow and provide more military aid to Kyiv, and the ministry said - in a statement - "Ukraine will never agree to any ultimatums."

In this context, US officials said - on Tuesday - that the United States is preparing a new arms package worth $1.1 billion for Ukraine, which will be announced soon.

This package will be the latest batch of weapons Washington has provided to Kiev, while Russian forces are fighting in eastern Ukraine. The officials, who declined to be identified, said the package would be announced in the coming days.

A source familiar with the plan said that the package will include HIMARS missile systems and their munitions, various types of anti-drone systems and radar systems, as well as spare parts, training and technical support.


So far, Washington has provided more than $15 billion in military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
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