Moscow’s main focus is keeping people safe, the president says
Residents of Severodonetsk cast their ballots at a polling station. © Sputnik/Valery Melnikov
Saving people’s lives is at the forefront of Russia’s attention when it comes to the referendums being held in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics and the Russian-controlled regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
“In the context of the special military operation and referendums in Donbass, saving people in all territories, namely saving people in all territories where this referendum is being held, is at the forefront,” Putin said, adding it is the “focus of attention of our entire society, the entire country.”
He added that this level of concern is “natural” in light of recent “dramatic events,” and reiterated Moscow’s position that the referendums, set to conclude on Tuesday, are ultimately meant to protect the local population and bring peace to the region.
Referendums on joining the Russian Federation have been underway in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, since Friday. The votes are similar to the one that took place in Crimea in March 2014, when residents of the peninsula overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia and secede from Kiev’s rule. According to preliminary results announced by the electoral committees, the turnout in the DPR was reportedly over 80% by the fourth day of voting, while it exceeded 90% in the LPR.