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Live: Kremlin proxies in Ukraine hold last day of discredited referendums

France 24 logo France 24 27/09/2022 FRANCE 24
© Alexey Pavlishak, Reuters

Annexation polls organised by Kremlin-installed authorities in four regions of Ukraine mostly controlled by Russian forces were due to close Tuesday, with Moscow's threats of nuclear weapons looming. Negotiators of a stop-gap spending bill in the US Congress agreed on Monday to include nearly $12 billion in new military and economic aid to Ukraine, sources familiar with the talks said. Follow our live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

06:49am: Kremlin proxies in Ukraine hold last day of discredited referendums

Annexation polls organised by Kremlin-installed authorities in four regions of Ukraine mostly controlled by Russian forces were due to close Tuesday, with Moscow's threats of nuclear weapons looming.

Kyiv and its allies have denounced the votes as a sham and said the West would never recognise the results of the ballots which are ratcheting up the stakes of Russia's seven-month invasion.

The four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine -- Donetsk and Lugansk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south -- announced that they would hold the votes just days before voting began on Friday. 

US President Joe Biden said the polls were a "sham" and little more than a "false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force". 

Kremlin-backed leaders in the regions have said provisional results could be expected around Tuesday evening or in the days that follow. Lawmakers would then be expected to vote to formally annex the four territories, which would need Putin's signature to be enacted.

12:15am: US Congress negotiators set nearly $12 bln in new Ukraine aid -sources

Negotiators of a stop-gap spending bill in the US Congress have agreed to include nearly $12 billion in new military and economic aid to Ukraine, sources familiar with the talks said on Monday, reflecting continued bipartisan support for the Kyiv government in the wake of Russia's invasion.

In response to a request from the Biden administration, the funding would include $4.5 billion to provide defence capabilities and equipment for Ukraine, as well as $2.7 billion to continue military, intelligence and other defense support, said the sources, who asked not to be identified ahead of the announcement.

It also will include $4.5 billion to continue to provide direct budget support to the Kyiv government through the next quarter. That way President Volodymyr Zelensky's administration can pay salaries to essential staff, support Ukrainians fleeing conflict and cover other critical expenses to help civilians, a government official said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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