Russian occupation officials 'paused' referendum on Ukraine's Kherson joining Russia

Russian rockets hit Mykolaiv
(Image credit: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)

Plans to hold a "referendum" in Ukraine's occupied Kherson province on whether to join Russia are "being paused because of the security situation," Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Kherson's Russian-appointed administration, told Russian media on Monday. Stremousov said Ukrainian shelling has made key bridges across the Dnipro River unsafe to cross, but he also cited Ukrainian threats to punish anyone who participates what it deems an illegal sham vote.

"The Ukrainian Resistance Center similarly reported that Russian occupation authorities are abandoning plans for referenda due to the ongoing counteroffensive" by Ukrainian forces, the Institute for the Study of War think tank reported Monday. "Shortly after TASS published his comment, Stremousov posted on Telegram denying he called for a pause because his administration had never set an official date for the referendum. Both of Stremousov's statements indicate a high level of disorganization within occupation regimes that is likely being exacerbated by the effects of the counteroffensive."

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