Russia begins voting as Ukraine calls it a 'farce'

Russia begins voting as Ukraine calls it a 'farce'

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“We have already shown that we can live together to defend the independence, sovereignty and security of Russia,” he said in a video message accompanied by the Russian tricolor flag and the presidential state emblem.

“It is extremely important today that we do not deviate from this path,” he said.

Early voting was already underway in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The vote will also take place in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014 – a move that most of the international community refuses to recognize.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemned voting in Russian-occupied territories. He said, “The United States will not and will never recognize the legitimacy or results of these sham elections held in sovereign Ukraine.”

In the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Mariupol, election officials on Thursday opened pop-up polling stations on small tables on the street and on the hoods of cars.

Banners bearing the red, white and blue “V” logo were flown – an army symbol used as a signal of support for a military invasion.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged international media and public figures to “refrain from referring to this farce as 'elections' in the language of democratic states.”

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