Residents cast their votes in controversial referendums in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on September 23, 2022.
Residents cast their votes in controversial referendums in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on September 23, 2022.Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • A "sham referendum" was held on Friday by the pro-Russian rebels.

  • Russia wants teenagers as young as 13 to vote, according to the Ukrainian security service.

  • The votes on joining Russia have been slammed by the West.

The security service of Ukraine said that pro-Russian officials are planning to encourage minorities to vote so they can give the appearance of increased participation.

The four occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine are holding referendums on joining Russia.

Pro-Russian officials plan to include teenagers in the voting process of the "sham referendum" in eastern Ukraine. Minors will be accompanied by their parents, guardians, or orphanage representatives to polling stations, according to the SBU.

Russian proxies will be able to build a more widespread voter base and strengthen control of the referendum's turnout if they are allowed to do so, according to the SBU.

At the expense of minor 'voters' the occupiers are trying to artificially increase the catastrophic lack of votes in order to legitimize the fake referendum.

According to a report from the New York Times, Russian soldiers and their proxies stood guard around election workers as Ukrainians voted on Friday. Some people ignored the call to vote, while others were forced to vote, according to a CNN report.

The results of the referendums will never be recognized by the Western countries.

Sham referendums don't change the nature of Russia's war of aggression againstUkraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this was a further increase in Putin's war.

The "sham referendum to try to annex parts of Ukraine" is an extremely significant violation of the UN charter according to President Joe Biden.

According to Britain's defense ministry, the votes are likely driven by fears of imminent Ukrainian attack and an expectation of greater security after becoming part of Russia.

After several weeks of Ukrainian advances along the war's eastern and southern fronts, including a punishing counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region, the announcement of the referendums came this week.

Western officials and war researchers say that the Russian President's decision to partially mobilize his country's reserve troops won't have much effect on the conflict for months.

Business Insider has an article on it.