Referendums are being called in four areas to join Russia, which would remove all the hurdles that are making it difficult for Russian annexation.
In recent months of the Russian invasion, Ukraine has claimed its territory in the northeast.
Some of the Russian-backed officials in the east and south say they want votes on joining Russia, which is starting this week.
Russia added Crimea as a subordinate part, in 2014 after voting drew international disapproval.
Vladimir Putin was scheduled to address the country on Tuesday evening, but Kremlin officials said it had been postponed. “Sham Referendums’ will not change anything, said Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday.
The international community has never recognized the Crimea annexation, but Russia plans to rubber-stamp the seizure of other seized areas.
If Russia annexes additional Ukrainian land, it may say Nato is attacking Russia. On February 24, Russia invaded.
Russia may launch a major mobilization to bolster its military in Ukraine. The Russian parliament authorized harsher sanctions for desertion, destroying military property, and insubordination during mobilization or war.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said holding elections in Donetsk and Luhansk would rectify “historical justice” and be irreversible. “No future leader of Russia, no official, would be able to reverse these choices,” he added.
Soon after, Donetsk and Luhansk announced elections on September 23-27. President Putin recognized their independence three days before Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine.
Russian-installed leaders in Kherson and Zaporizhia claimed they would likewise conduct a referendum. State media stated Russians may vote in person or remotely.
Russian-installed officials have attempted referendums for months. There was never any possibility of a free or fair referendum, and the conflict has made annexing territories not totally under their authority difficult. Ukraine’s counterattacks make it tougher.
On Monday, the Ukrainian commander in Luhansk stated that the troops had retaken Bilohorivka.
Much of Donetsk is still in Ukrainian hands, while Russia holds the seacoast.
Russian soldiers occupied Kherson early in the conflict, although Ukrainian forces have recaptured some areas and Russian-installed authorities have been attacked. Earlier votes were postponed.
Zaporizhzhia, including its capital, is still under Ukrainian authority. Even though many Crimeans viewed the 2014 poll as unlawful, Russia’s military-controlled the peninsula.
The Russian-backed mayor of Donetsk accused Ukrainian troops of bombarding the city on Monday, killing 13 people.
Any move to seize more Ukrainian land would anger Kyiv and kill any chance of a diplomatic settlement.
Ukrainian defense ministry advisor Oleksiy Kopytko called Moscow’s voting plan “hysteria.” President Volodymyr Zelensky declared “the occupants are panicking”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the elections a “sham,” while France’s Emmanuel Macron called them “cynical” and a “parody.” Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called them “an escalation of Putin’s conflict.”