Ukraine will never recognize ‘void and worthless’ Russian referendums in its occupied territories and will continue to fight to free them, Kyiv promised today.
Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson ‘remain Ukraine’s sovereign territories’, Kyiv’s foreign ministry says, despite sham votes staged by Russia at gunpoint that paved the way for Putin to attach them.
“Ukraine has every right to restore its territorial integrity through military and diplomatic means, and will continue to liberate” its territory, the ministry added – in defiance of Kremlin threats to use nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have reportedly earmarked an additional $12 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine, underscoring their commitment to supporting Kyiv for a long time despite Russia’s slashing.
Ukraine has vowed never to recognize ‘void and worthless’ Russian referendums or stop liberating its occupied territories (pictured, Russian troops outside a polling station)
President Zelensky has said there will be no peace talks with Russia as Putin tries to carve up his country under the guise of democracy
Russian officials in occupied parts of Ukraine announced yesterday that 90% of people had voted to be part of Russia – a result which was little in doubt as armed soldiers went door to door in the ballot boxes.
Kremlin puppets in occupied areas said they planned to seek permission to join Russia today, which Putin is expected to accept in a speech to parliament on Friday.
While devoid of legitimacy, the process will allow Putin to lie to his own people that Ukraine is now attacking Russia rather than the other way around – kicking off a dangerous new phase in the conflict.
President Zelensky, speaking at the UN last night, said there could be no peace talks with Putin while he worked to carve up Ukrainian territory.
“Russia’s recognition of these sham referendums as normal … will mean that there is nothing to discuss with this Russian president,” he said.
Separately, his foreign ministry criticized “armed aggression and powerless attempts to cling to the territories temporarily occupied” by the Kremlin.
“Forcing residents of these territories to fill out papers with the barrel of a gun is another Russian crime during its aggression against Ukraine,” he said.
“Such actions seriously violate the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, as well as the norms of international law and Russia’s international obligations. ‘
Russia claimed yesterday that more than 90% of the people in the territories it occupies had voted to join the ‘motherland’, although there is no doubt the poll was rigged
Moscow yesterday released the results of referendums its troops have held in occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over the past week – saying 90% of people voted to be part of Russia.
Videos of armed Kremlin soldiers going door to door with ballot boxes left little doubt about the validity of the votes, but it nevertheless marks an important moment as it gives Putin a pretext to claim them as part of Russia .
The despot is expected to do so on Friday when he addresses both houses of parliament, allowing him to lie to his own people that Ukraine is now attacking Russia – rather than the other way around.
This then increases the suite of options he must answer, including the use of nuclear weapons.
Putin threatened to deploy his nuclear arsenal last week, and his allies – including ex-president Dmitry Medvedev – have repeated it many times since.
Russia staged the referendums following a Ukrainian counterattack east of Kharkiv that put Putin firmly on the back foot and victory within reach.
The Kremlin now appears to be trying to regain momentum with a heady mix of threats and escalation.
Putin is expected to annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to Russia in a speech to parliament on Friday (file image)
Annexing the territory would allow Putin to claim that Ukraine is attacking Russia rather than the other way around, paving the way for the war to escalate (File image, a Russian soldier in Ukraine)
Besides referenda and nuclear saber-cutting, Putin also ordered the partial mobilization of the Russian population with the aim of sending 300,000 new troops to the front lines.
This sparked huge domestic unrest with protests breaking out in several cities and seeing thousands of people fleeing the country to avoid the project.
Meanwhile, videos revealed conscripts were given little training or equipment before being thrown to the front lines, with experts saying they are unlikely to turn the tide of the war.
But, rather than outright winning, Putin appears to be trying to increase the cost of his defeat so that the West stops trying.
In this context, two explosions yesterday seriously damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which pass under the Baltic Sea – Moscow being the main suspect.
However, Western leaders have so far refrained from blaming Russia directly as the attack caught them off guard and evidence is still being collected.