REFERENDA THEATER CLOSES AFTER 4 DAY RUN
Kremlin has completed its dramatization of staged popular votes on the question of russian annexation of four partially occupied oblasts: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson. The foregone results were quickly announced. Voting at the point of a rifle produced high agreement.
- The European Union announced a new raft of sanctions in response. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the package was designed to make the Kremlin pay for escalating the conflict in Ukraine with the sham votes..
- The sanctions package includes further import bans on Russian products, expected to deprive Moscow of an additional €7 billion ($6.7 billion) in revenues. It also features export bans on key technology used for the military such as aviation items, electronic components and specific chemical substances.
- The sanctions package will map out the legal basis for an oil price cap and will ban EU citizens from sitting on governing bodies of Russian state-owned companies, according to Ms von der Leyen.
NOT EVEN MOSCOW ALLY SERBIA RECOGNIZES REFERENDA THEATER
Above: During years of civil war in the former Yugoslavia following the breakup of the soviet union, Kosovo broke away and declared sovereignty. The threat of Serbian invasion to retake the breakaway province simmers on. Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty
- Despite close relations with moscow, Serbia will not recognize the results of “referendums” held in four regions of Ukraine according to Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic.
- “Serbia … will not recognize (the referendums) as it adheres to international law, the United Nations Charter and UN resolutions,” Mr Vucic told reporters.
- Serbia is a candidate for European Union membership that is highly dependent on moscow for gas supplies. Serbia has refused to join Western sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.
- Ukraine joined Serbia in opposition to recognizing the independence of Kosovo, a former southern Serbian province populated mainly by ethnic Albanians. Regarding Ukraine, Mr Vucic noted, “We are protecting our own territorial integrity and it is in our best interest to protect the territorial integrity of other internationally recognized countries.”
ANNEXATION ANNOUNCEMENT FRIDAY
Above: Moscow has an erection of billboards proclaiming, “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, Kherson – RUSSIA!” Cyprus Mail
- The kremlin on Thursday announced plans to annex four regions of Ukraine on Friday. During a very grand ceremony at the Grand Kremlin Palace, the kremlin-installed leaders of temporarily-occupied territory will sign documents with the tiny russian despot annexing parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to russia, comprising about 15% of Ukrainian territory.
- Propaganda channels report that the dictator will give a “voluminous speech” during annexation ceremonies. His last major address to this empire was on February 24 to announce the invasion of Ukraine.
- Meanwhile, President Zelensky will convene with his security and defense staff to devise a robust response. Ukraine has ruled out any chance for a negotiated settlement until Ukrainian lands are cleansed of russian invaders.
Above: Mobilized troops in Sevastopol receive protection of russian orthodox church. Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty
- Straddling a line he did not plan to be on, the tiny kremlin dictator is desperate to raise large quantities of cannon fodder as quickly as possible without calling a general mobilization. Instead he publicly announced a recall of up to 300,000 experienced reservists, while privately approved the drafting of a million men within wider parameters.
- Mobilization started within hours of the kremlin’s announcement when reports immediately surfaced of cohesive mobilization of people without military training, sick and middle-aged.
- Videos abound of untrained, unequipped men being loaded onto buses for immediate dispatch to the front who are unlikely to improve the combat capacity of enemy forces in Ukraine.
- Since the fall of Lysychansk, the enemy has made only small gains towards Bakhmut, reportedly spearheaded by Wagner and Kadyrovite mercenaries. Otherwise, they are on the defensive and not very successfully, having lost tens of thousands of square kilometers in Ukrainian counter-offensives in the last month.
russian draftees told to bring sanitary pads to staunch bleeding when inevitably wounded
Above: Queue of cars leading into Georgia, waiting up to 48 hours. At least 40,000 russians have fled to Georgia since russia’s invasion of Ukraine. For now, Georgia is letting them in, even though putin twice invaded and annexed Georgian territory during his tenure. Aljazeera
- Well over 200,000 draft-eligible men have fled their motherland in the week since moscow began aggressive and desperate mobilization following a series of setbacks in the country’s war with Ukraine, according to border crossing data provided by neighboring countries.
- Russian dissident news outlet Meduza reported that russian security services tallied 261,000 departures during the first four days after the mobilization announcement.
- Overland, the bulk have fled to Georgia, Kazakhstan and Finland. Many have been forced to abandon cars by the side of the road and walk into their destinations.
- Finland announced on Thursday that its border would close to Schengen travelers at midnight. The country will consider on a case-by-case basis entries for family, work, study or humanitarian reasons.
- Somewhat slow to respond, moscow has ordered the military to catch people at the borders and push them into service.
- Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that nearly 100,000 draft dodgers have crossed into his county and that Kazakhstan would ensure their safety. The sparsely populated country has a 7,644 kilometres (4,762 miles) border with the aggressor terrorist state.
Welcoming committee waves Georgian and Ukrainian flags over draft dodgers entering Georgia. INews
PROPAGANDA MACHINE BREAK DOWN
Above: moscow propaganda machine has failed to prepare the base for the capture of Lyman on the day when annexation is announced. ru mil bloggers are already feeling quite angry and defeated. Ukrainian Defense Staff
- Even as draft-age men flee the country like rats on a sinking ship, developing events in Ukraine have gotten way out in front of the moscow propaganda machine. Ukrainian forces are set to soon take Lyman in northern Donetsk Oblast and likely gain the momentum to cut major enemy supply lines into occupied territories.
- According to the Institute for the Study of War, “Russian military authorities previously failed to set sufficient information conditions for Russian losses following the first stages of the Ukrainian counter offensives in Kharkiv Oblast, devastating morale and leading to panic among Russian forces across the Eastern axis.”
- “Future Ukrainian gains around critical areas in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast may drive additional wedges between Russian nationalists and military leadership, and between Russian forces and their superiors.”
- Right-wing war cheerleaders have grown incresingly critical of moscow’s mess, not the least about the prisoner swap earlier this month when dozens of purported Azov “nazis” where exchanged for a close friend of putin, Ukrainian traitor medvedchuk during the Ukrainian counter offensive that retook most of Kharkiv Oblast.
- moscow watchers are looking for on-going signs of cracks in putin’s facade of domestic support, sewn with propaganda for twenty years. This is an extremely important factor in the succession of power after putin’s long hoped for demise.
russians show their devotion to motherland. Aljazeera