The liberation of Ukrainian Kherson from the occupiers has now become a matter of the near future. Now, everyone perfectly understands that the defeat of the Russian troops near Kherson is inevitable. So, the Kremlin is obviously already thinking about how profitable it would be for its domestic audience to show a serious tactical and operational defeat. In my opinion, the Kremlin has no other options, except to hold a worthless and illegal “referendum” in the Kherson region, as a result of which the residents of Kherson will not agree to the annexation of the Ukrainian territory to the composition, conditionally, of the “Taurus province of the Russian Federation”. Only under such conditions will Putin be able to justify his defeat by pointing to the will of citizens living in the occupied part of the South. Under these circumstances, the Russians will withdraw from Kherson and, at the same time, will not fall as hard as they could in the eyes of the residents clouded by propaganda. Admitting military incapacity would be a downfall for Putin, so this option is indeed possible for the Kremlin.
Chapter III of the Constitution of Ukraine contains provisions that make it impossible to hold local referendums at the behest of Gauleiter. For example, Art. 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine emphasizes that the issues of changing the territory of Ukraine are resolved exclusively by an all-Ukrainian referendum; in Part 1 of Art. 72 it is noted that the all-Ukrainian referendum must be appointed according to a special procedure by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine or the President of Ukraine, Part 2 of Art. 72 draws attention to the fact that the referendum should be called by the people’s initiative, i.e. by at least three million citizens of Ukraine. All these facts prove that the “referendum” in Kherson is pure and criminal fiction. However, by leaving Kherson based on the “results of the will” of local residents, Putin can partially, for some Western leaders, justify the integrity of the “referendums” in Crimea and whitewash the annexation of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. He will now be able to appeal to Western politicians that all “referendums” are fair, since the people of Kherson made their choice in favor of Ukraine, and it was accepted. To prevent this, both European and Ukrainian leaders should have the same position, which will be based on international acts and the Constitution of Ukraine.
So, if it were not there, the fact is that the entire Ukrainian territory would be liberated from the occupiers. However, with such an enemy, one should be cautious, attentive and act in advance because Putin understands that the usual way the war will be lost and will lead to the disintegration of the substate.