U.S. Army Special Operations veteran Brett Velicovich joined “The Story” Wednesday in Ukraine to share the latest news from the war-torn country.
BRETT VELICOVICH: This true mobilization is a major escalation in this war, but it’s also very telling of where Russia’s military stands tactically on the battlefield. They are losing this war at this point.
They’ve suffered a major battlefield reversal recently. And Putin, he’s basically backed into a corner. But I think while most people are focusing on this new Russian troop mobilization over the last 24 hours, the real issue that people should be concerned about and watching very closely, it’s what’s happening here in Ukraine.
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In the next few days, Russia plans to conduct a public vote in these Ukrainian regions that their troops have temporarily occupied like Mariupol … to see if the citizens there would rather be Russian citizens or Ukrainian citizens. And of course, this vote is going to be a major sham.
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It’s going to it’s going to say that all the citizens there, they want to be Russian citizens, and they’re going to use this Putin’s going to use this to declare essentially that these regions are formally a part of Russian territory. And any attacks in the future by Ukrainians is an attack against the Russian Federation territory.
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And this basically allows them to sort of mobilize more troops, declare an act of war. Because you remember, right now, Ukraine is still a special military operation on behalf to Russia. They haven’t officially declared war, but this is a clear violation of international law, is a disgrace to the ideals of what democracy stands for around the world.
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And many countries have come out and said they’re never going to recognize this and that’s important. But again, really Putin’s actions here, it’s not about other countries recognizing these new occupied regions as part of the Russian Federation.
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It’s about Russian citizens recognizing it. And it’s propaganda coming from Putin. And he’s going to use these sham votes in the coming days to convince his people that Ukrainians are just begging to be a part of Russia.
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