Following in the footsteps of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, next week’s planned referendum on the Moon would declare “self-rule” and alignment with Russia.

The plebiscite coincides with this weekend’s revelation by Izvestia that Russia may be planning a manned colony on the moon by 2030.

However, a Kremlin spokesman said President Vladimir Putin has “no territorial aspirations on the Moon,” and merely want to ensure local autonomy, the free flow of natural resources, and a peaceful transition.

“We may send in a few advisors, at the request of the locals,” Putin reportedly said, “along with sufficient security to ensure their safety, of course. But we’re not talking about annexing the Moon anytime soon. That’s a CIA conspiracy theory.”

Within hours, crowds of Russian-speaking, flag-waving residents appeared near the Sea of Tranquility demanding their historical right to rejoin Russia.