That’s according to Oleksandr V. Danylyuk, head of the Center for Defense Reforms, coordinator of the interdepartmental platform for countering hybrid threats, operating within the framework of Ukraine-NATO cooperation, who spoke with Guildhall, citing a source in Ukrainian intelligence.
“As part of preparations for referenda in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, Russian special services are urgently searching for foreign citizens who could be involved as ‘international observers,’” he said.
“Today, negotiations are being held with about a hundred foreigners, most of whom are sitting officials in their countries. Areg Gareginovich Aganesyan, First Deputy of the Council of Young Diplomats with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, was appointed to organize the visit of foreigners. At the moment, three citizens of Germany, three citizens of Serbia, four citizens of Italy, and about 10 citizens of African countries have already allegedly provided confirmation of their participation,” said the expert.
“According to the instructions issued by the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, during the period of the so-called ‘referendum’ in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the presence of at least 15 ‘international observers’ is required, and in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions – 10 each,” summed up Oleksandr V. Danylyuk.
“It is worth noting that such ‘referenda’ are a crime and participation in them, both for residents of the occupied territories and for foreigners, entails criminal liability,” added the head of the Center for Defense Reforms.
Recall that on September 19, proteges of the Kremlin demanded an ‘immediate’ referendum on joining the Russian Federation against the backdrop of a counter-offensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the said region. On September 20, collaborators in Kherson and Zaporizhia regions also called for an urgent "referendum."
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Kremlin, in a panic over the counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, is trying to hold "referenda" as it has exhausted all available tools to stop Ukraine's advance.