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The newspaper quoted Volodymyr Saldo, the Russian-appointed “governor” of Kherson Oblast, who is suspected of treason.
“The story about the preparation for the referendum was invented in Kyiv as a provocation,” Saldo said.
“Currently, Kherson Oblast is a region within Ukraine that is under the control of the Russian Federation.”
In their article, the propagandists also reported that Russia had begun handing out pensions in rubles in Vinnicheske district (which does not exist) and in Novotroyitske district (abolished two years ago) in Kherson Oblast, as well as in Henichesk district.
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On April 19, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced that the Russians were preparing sham referendums to “legalize” the occupation administrations in the temporarily occupied areas.
According to intelligence, “bulletins,” posters and other waste paper are being printed in the occupied territory of Kherson Oblast to vote in the “referendum.”
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The Russian edition of the Latvian-based news website Medusa, citing sources in the Kremlin, said the “referendum” in Kherson Oblast might be held on May 14-15.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in response that the invaders were forcing locals to hand over personal data, in particular when receiving “humanitarian aid,” in order to falsify the “referendum.” At the same time, humanitarian aid from the Ukrainian side has been blocked or stolen.
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The president stressed that Ukraine would withdraw from negotiations with Russia if the invaders held sham referendums in the temporarily occupied territories, in particular in Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts.
On April 28, the deputy chairman of Kherson Regional Council, Yuriy Sobolevsky, said that the Russian invaders in Kherson Oblast did not have enough people to organize and hold the sham referendum.