British intelligence: Russia will use presidential elections in the occupied Ukrainian territories to legitimize the invasion

The occupied territories are already preparing for presidential elections

Russia is going to hold presidential elections in March 2024, including in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The occupiers have every opportunity to create the appearance of total support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Moscow plans to use this fake "support" to legitimize the occupation of Ukrainian territories. This is stated in a new report by the UK Ministry of Defense.

The British defense ministry reminded that on December 11, the Russian Central Election Commission announced the presidential elections not only in the legal territories of Russia but also in the partially occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions, which Russia added to its constitution as "subjects of the Russian Federation" last fall.

The occupiers have already held "regional elections" in these territories in September 2023.

However, we cannot even speak of a relative "expression of will" in the occupied territories.

"As in the case of the regional elections, it is almost certain that voting in the presidential elections in the Russian-controlled regions will be neither free nor fair. The Russian authorities almost certainly see the 'right' results in these regions as a priority as they want to create the impression of legitimacy for Russia's invasion," the British Ministry of Defense noted.

To achieve the appearance of allegedly total support for the current Russian president and Russia in general, the occupiers, according to the British Defense Ministry, will use all available tools.

"The Russian administration will almost certainly use all available methods, including significant election fraud and voter intimidation, to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin wins in regions with a significant advantage," the British Ministry of Defense summarized.

Earlier, British intelligence assessed the consequences of the hacker attack on Kyivstar. According to the UK, it has become one of the most destructive cyberattacks since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Not only millions of civilian subscribers were affected by the failure of the operator's equipment but also government resources and emergency services.

British intelligence noted that the cyberattack disrupted the operation of air raid alerts, some banks, ATMs, and retail terminals. However, no personal data was compromised during the attack.

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