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Occupied Ukraine holds Kremlin-staged vote on joining Russia

(AP) — A Kremlin-orchestrated referendum got underway in occupied regions of Ukraine that sought to make them part of Russia, with some officials carrying ballots to apartment blocks accompanied by gun-toting police. Kyiv and the West condemned it as a rigged election whose result was preordained by Moscow. The referendums in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions were widely seen as a prelude to Moscow annexing the regions. The voting overseen by authorities installed by Russia, scheduled to run through Tuesday, is almost certain to go the Kremlin’s way. Meanwhile, the governor of the Kharkiv region said 436 bodies were exhumed from a mass burial site in the eastern city of Izium, 30 with signs of torture.

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