Kremlin poised to hold referendum in ruined city in bid to secure grip on the region

Moscow is preparing to hold a referendum in Mariupol on whether the city will join Russia, Ukrainian officials have claimed, following the announcement of a similar poll in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the port city’s mayor, who is operating in exile, said sources among those remaining among its ruins believed a vote on its future was in the making, even as residents were going without food and water.

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