The referendums for Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia lay the groundwork for Russia to annex swaths of Ukraine.
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Monday saw Ukraine pressing a counter-offensive which has retaken swathes of territory in the north-east.
When faced with a choice, Vladimir Putin always seems to choose escalation, writes the BBC's Russia editor.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a stark warning to Moscow, declaring that "history will put everything in its place" as Ukrainian troops swept through the northeastern region of Kharkiv.
The partial mobilisation comes after Russia faced a number of setbacks on the battlefield.
Questions are being asked as even state media reported the "tough" week, says the BBC's Russia editor.
A "referendum" for Kherson to join Russia is delayed, while Moscow blames Europe for gas shutdown.
President Zelensky says Ukraine has retaken 30 settlements in its eastern offensive this week.
Kyiv's troops are advancing on Lyman, a strategic town that Russia spent months trying to capture.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Ukraine's ongoing ambitions to join the Western NATO military alliance presented a threat to Russia's security and highlighted the necessity for Russia to conduct what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.