The referendums in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia will make those oblasts part of Russia. That will make all the difference in the Ukraine-Russia War. From Larry Johnson at sonar21.com:
Remember three weeks ago when Putin and the Russian military were on the ropes and the Ukrainian army was steamrolling through Kharkov? That was then and Urkaine’s promised victory failed to materialize. With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that Russia abandoned the strategically meaningless territory in the Kharkov Oblast of Ukraine and re-deployed forces to the Donbas, Zaporhyzhia and Kherson. Why? To be in position for the referendum–i.e., to defend the Ukraine oblasts that would be given the chance to vote whether or not to reunite with mother Russia. Putin’s subsequent announcement of the referenda, which began last Friday, was not a Hail Mary pass nor an act of desperation. The planning for this had been in the works for at least a month, maybe longer.
While Ukraine continued to throw its troops against the Russian lines and launched artillery strikes on civilian targets, it paid a terrible price in terms of human casualties and destroyed tanks and combat vehicles, and failed completely to disrupt the vote. There have been international observers monitoring the vote throughout the four oblasts. I wish at least one reporter would ask these observers when they were first contacted and asked to come to the Russian controlled territory and do the monitoring. That detail would provide some insight into the extent of the pre-planning for the referenda.
It appears that the vote to reunite with Russia will be overwhelming in favor of becoming Russian republics. Once the results are certified the Russian Duma will act to accept the decision and Putin will put the cherry on the sundae and make it official. At that point–this Friday–the special military operation in Ukraine will end and Russia will be in position to defend its new territory.