Network control, mock referendums: Russia to set table to annex several Ukrainian territories from mid-May as it suffers fresh military failures.
• Also read – [EN DIRECT] 68th day of the war in Ukraine: here are the latest developments
• Also read – [EN IMAGES] “They bomb so much, even on us, it falls everywhere”
According to “very credible” US data on Monday, Russia intends to annex the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and the “Luhansk People’s Republic”, two pro-Russian parts of eastern Russia.
“This information shows that Russia intends to launch referendums in this direction from scratch “around the middle of May,” said US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Michael Carpenter.
Moscow is also considering “a similar project” for Kherson on the Black Sea coast near Crimea. Kherson is the only major city the Russians have fully taken since they began their February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Carpenter added that these referendums, which would involve “fabricated voting”, “are not considered legitimate, nor any attempt to annex other Ukrainian territories”.
Russia has taken another important step to tighten its control over these regions: taking control of the Internet.
The internet is now traversing Russia’s infrastructure, subjecting its population to Kremlin censorship, Reuters news agency reported on Monday, citing the Netblocks organization, which oversees web governance.
This means that Ukrainians in these regions cannot see the images broadcast on the Internet of the attacks on two Russian boats, which were neutralized by the Ukrainian army on Monday, according to their commander in chief Valeri Zaloujny.
He said that these two Raptor-class ships, which are among the fastest in the Russian Navy, were destroyed using Turkish-made combat drones.
Even if it dominates the Black Sea, Russia has little chance of attacking what remains of Ukraine’s shores, which Western observers say are still well defended.
Painful evacuation in Mariupol
Despite the intentions of the Ukrainian authorities, no civilians could be evacuated from the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol on Monday, CNN reported.
The huge factory, which is constantly being bombed, is the last pocket of resistance in the port city devastated by Russian attacks.
Hundreds of people were exterminated on Sunday.
On the side of Odessa, another western port city, a 14-year-old teenager was killed and another 17-year-old injured in a Russian attack on Monday, according to that city’s authorities.
– With Olivier Faucher