BRUSSELS.- Leaders of Western powers criticized the recent announcement of referendums in four breakaway regions of Ukraine supported by Russia, in what they considered a new “provocation” of the Kremlin that violates “international law” and the “sovereignty and integrity” of the territories, in addition to marking a “additional escalation” to the war that began on February 24.
The general secretary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenbergindicated that “fake referendums have no legitimacy and do not change the nature of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This is a new escalation in the war of [Vladimir] Putin”, he pointed out on his Twitter account.
In his rejection message, NATO’s political chief called on “the international community” to “condemn this blatant violation of international law and step up support for Ukraine.”
USA warned that “will never recognize” Russian annexations of Ukraine territoryfor which he will ignore the results of the referendums to annex the pro-Russian areas of the east of the country, Donetsk and Luganskas well as the regions of Khersonin the south, and Zaporizhiain the southeast.
“These referendums are an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that underpin the international system”, said the National Security adviser of the White House, Jake Sullivan.
“USA will never recognize Russia’s claims over any allegedly annexed part of Ukraine,” he added.
For his part, the French president, Emmanuel Macrondescribed as “parody” the announcement and said that “they will not have legal consequences”.
“I think this is a parody that has been announced by Russia”, Macron told reporters at the UN headquarters, where the annual General Assembly takes place. “The only thing that exists is the war decided by Russia, the resistance of Ukraine and the end of the war that we want,” added the president, who will meet with the Russian president “in the coming days.”
“This is one more provocation” that “it will not have any consequence in our position”, he deepened. “The very idea of organizing referendums in regions that have known war, that have suffered bombing, is the height of cynicism,” he lashed out before delivering his speech to the General Assembly.
The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, rejected that such “fictitious referendums” are “acceptable”.
The pro-Russian separatist territories in the Donbass region, as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, seized by Moscow’s forces during the invasion of Ukraine that is about to enter its eighth month of war, announced today the call for referendums from September 23 to 27 to rule on annexation to Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrovhas valued that these initiatives represent a sample of the desire of the population of these territories to be able to determine if they want to be part of Russia.
“From the beginning of the special military operation and, in general, in the preceding period, we said that the population of the respective territories should decide their future”, highlighted Lavrov.
These consultations are based on the one that confirmed Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and that was denounced by the international community.
AFP and DPA Agency