Do not obtain Russian passport, do not participate in “referenda:” Ukraine’s govt gives advice to Ukrainians in occupied territories

Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister for Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories

Ukrainians who remain in the temporarily occupied territories are advised not to participate in illegal “referendums”, as well as not to cooperate with the occupiers, and not to obtain a Russian passport.

The Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories (TOT), Iryna Vereshchuk, said this in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

She emphasized that pseudo-referendums will not have any legal significance.

At the same time, Ukraine will demand further strengthening of international sanctions against the Russian Federation. Defenders, in turn, will continue to do their work.

“Our Armed Forces will provide a comprehensive response to all these ‘referendums,'” she said.

Tips for Ukrainians

Vereshchuk advises the residents of the occupied territories to ignore the “referendums”.

“Do not succumb to intimidation and blackmail. Do not participate in the vote,” she added.

Vereshchuk noted that in accordance with the law on the legal regime of wartime, referendums are prohibited on the territory of Ukraine.

The organizers of the “referendums” will be punished under Article 111-1, Part 5 of the Criminal Code, which is imprisonment from 5 to 10 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of up to 15 years with confiscation of property.

As for those who will vote in the legally prohibited “referendum”, some lawyers believe that such actions may fall under Article 110, Part 1 of the Criminal Code “Encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine” – this is imprisonment for up to 5 years.

“Therefore, I once again strongly advise the residents of TOT: do not take a passport, do not go to “referendums”, do not cooperate with the occupiers, if possible leave TOT,” Vereshchuk summarized.

It will be recalled that the occupiers in occupied parts of Donbas, as well as in the captured territories of Zaporizhia and Kherson regions, announced their intention to hold pseudo-referendums on joining Russia from September 23 to 27.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office, noted that holding “referendums” does not change the essence of the war.

Four Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine have said they are planning to hold “referendums” on joining the Russian Federation in a series of coordinated announcements that could indicate the Kremlin has made a decision to formally annex the territories.