Russia is holding referendums in four regions of Ukraine to formalize the annexation of the areas.
Why it matters
The referendums are widely seen as a sham and a pretext for Russia to illegally grab territory. The West and Ukraine have condemned the move, and UN investigators have cited evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in areas it occupies in Ukraine. The annexation of the areas would significantly escalate the war and violate international law.
What the papers say
Sources agree that the referendums are a sham and a violation of international law. Some sources report on the evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in the occupied areas. Outlier articles are excluded.
How we got here
Russia has been in a seven-month-long war with Ukraine, and the annexation of the areas would formalize the control of an area larger than Portugal. The self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, which Putin recognised as independent just before the invasion, are holding snap votes on whether to join Russia or remain as part of Ukraine. The Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which are yet to be recognised as independent states by Russia, have also said they will hold their own votes.
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Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia, which it borders to the east and north-east.
Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Covering an area of 17,125,200 square kilometres, it is the largest country in the world by area, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth's in
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who has served as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 1999 until 2008.
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Donetsk, formerly known as Aleksandrovka, Yuzovka, Stalin and Stalino, is an industrial city in eastern Ukraine located on the Kalmius River in the disputed Donetsk region.
Kherson is a city in the south of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Kherson Oblast and an economic center. Designated a city of oblast significance, Kherson is an important port on the Black Sea and on the Dnieper River, and the home of a major