Russia is again threatening to use nuclear weapons at the end of the "referendums".

The "referendums" in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine's Donbass and in the southern Ukrainian regions of Cherson and Zaporizhia began on Friday, criticized by Kyiv and its western allies as sham referendums.

Russia is again threatening to use nuclear weapons at the end of the "referendums".

The "referendums" in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine's Donbass and in the southern Ukrainian regions of Cherson and Zaporizhia began on Friday, criticized by Kyiv and its western allies as sham referendums. Organized in a hurry given the successes of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, they follow the scheme of Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

According to the Kremlin, the "referendums" primarily have "consequences" for security in the affected areas. "The legal situation will change radically from the point of view of international law, and that will also have consequences for security in these areas," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday.

Ex-President Medvedev also became clear on Tuesday. "Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary." Asked if the comments represented the Kremlin's official position, Kremlin spokesman Peskov referred to Russia's "military doctrine" that provides for the possibility of nuclear strikes if areas viewed by Moscow as Russian are attacked.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Moscow wanted to "save" the local population with the votes. Russia justifies its invasion of Ukraine by accusing Kyiv of an alleged "genocide" against the Russian-speaking population.

In response to the so-called referendums, the EU wants to impose sanctions on those responsible in the Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. Peter Stano, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said in Brussels that "there will be consequences for everyone involved in organizing these illegal referendums."

According to the Russian election commission, on Tuesday afternoon at the polling stations on Russian territory, after counting 20 to 27 percent of the votes, there were clear approvals for an annexation by Moscow. Russian news agencies reported that 97 to 98 percent of voters voted yes.

At the same time, Russia is continuing to partially mobilize 300,000 reservists for the war in Ukraine. The recruitment campaign had prompted a number of Russians to leave the country. On Tuesday, two neighboring countries, Georgia and Kazakhstan, confirmed a significant increase in the number of Russians entering the country. An influx was also observed at the borders with Mongolia and Finland.

According to Georgia, the number of Russians entering the country every day has doubled since Russia's partial mobilization. "Four or five days ago, 5,000 to 6,000 Russians arrived in Georgia every day," said Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri. In the meantime, this number has grown to "10,000 per day".

According to the local Ministry of the Interior, there was a backlog of more than 5,500 cars in the Russian region bordering Georgia by Tuesday, whose occupants want to leave for the neighboring country.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged protection to incoming Russians. "Most of them are forced to leave because of a hopeless situation," Tokayev said. "We have to take care of them, ensure their safety."

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