Ukraine’s president warned on Tuesday that Russia had just ended a “fake referendum” and that an attempt to annex Ukrainian territory would rule out any negotiations with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remained president, and at the same time called on Russia for “total isolation” and tough new global sanctions.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council via video link about Russia’s protest, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for additional military and financial support to defend Ukraine “so that the aggressor will lose”, and ” clear and legally binding guarantee of collective security” for his country in response to Russia taking the latest for Ukrainian territory.
The referendums, denounced by Kyiv and his Western allies as fraudulent, took place in the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Kherson regions, as well as occupied areas in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. They are widely seen as a pretext to make claims that Russia is annexing territories, like its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Pro-Moscow officials said on Tuesday that people in all four occupied Ukraine’s regions have voted to join Russia, a prelude to possible annexation in the next few days that will set the stage for a new and potentially more dangerous phase in the seven-month war following Russia’s February 24 invasion of its smaller neighbor.
Ukraine has called an emergency meeting of the Security Council in response to the referendums, and expected annexation announcements from Russia.
Zelenskyy said: “Any annexation in the modern world is a crime, a crime against all countries that consider the inviolability of their borders to be important to them.
He accused Russia of destroying “the main body of international law” and responded to “any proposal for negotiations with a new brutality on the battlefield, with an even greater crisis and threat.” for Ukraine and the world”.
“Russia’s recognition of these fake referendums as normal, the implementation of the so-called Crimea scenario and another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory, will mean nothing to say to the president. This Russia,” said Zelenskyy. “The takeover is the kind of move that leaves him alone against all of humanity.”
Many Security Council members rejected the referendums and insisted that any territorial annexation would never be recognized.
UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo said voting in the referendums took place at vote centers and “in fact the authorities accompanying the soldiers also went door-to-door with crates”. promissory note.”
“They cannot be called true expressions of popular will,” she told the council. people, cannot be considered legitimate under international law. “
Britain’s deputy ambassador, James Kariuki, called the referendums “illegal and illegal” and violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Albanian Ambassador Ferit Hoxha said the referendums were a replay of the scenario Russia used in Crimea, were against the Ukrainian constitution and had “nothing to do with democracy, nothing to do with free will by the Ukrainians.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that the United States and Albania will soon issue a Security Council resolution condemning the “fake referendum”, calling on all countries not to recognize any any altered status for Ukraine and demand the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the Country.
The resolution certainly faces a Russian veto, “but we expect to see the rest of the council stand its ground and refuse to accept the redraw,” she said.
The US ambassador said she expected a Security Council vote on the resolution later this week or early next week.
Thomas-Greenfield said if Russia used its veto, the US and Albania would take the resolution to the 193-member UN General Assembly, which has no veto, “to send an unmistakable message to Moscow.”
Congress overwhelmingly passed two resolutions in March, with the support of some 140 countries, demanding that Russia immediately end its military activities and withdraw its forces, blaming Moscow. about the humanitarian crisis currently affecting many countries, especially the food developing countries. and energy shortages, higher prices and rising inflation.
Explaining why the US went ahead with the resolution, Thomas-Greenfield quoted US President Joe Biden speaking before the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly last week and saying that ” if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences risking everything this institution stands for.”
Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, stated that 100 independent international observers from 40 countries had observed the referendums, “and they were particularly surprised by the enthusiasm of the people. .”
He accused Ukrainian forces of using Western “military might” in stepping up artillery and shelling attacks on the towns where the referendum took place “to frighten people.” people and tried in vain to sabotage the vote.”
Nebenzia stated that the West’s goal in assisting Ukraine and reaching Russia’s borders “is to weaken and dry Russia as much as possible.”
“Their dream is to part with Russia and go along with it,” he said.
Referring to the possibility of further referendums and mergers, he called the situation in Ukraine “catastrophic” and claimed Kyiv had been rejected not only by the people of Crimea and the Donbass but also by the Kherson and Zhaporizhzhia.
“This process will continue if Kyiv does not realize its mistakes and strategic blunders and does not begin to be guided by the interests of its own people and does not carry out the will of those who are playing them one by one. blind way”. Nebenzia said.
Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador, replied, “I have no doubt in mind that they will try to do that.”
She reiterated Biden’s unwavering support for Ukraine, saying “that’s why it’s important that we fight this immediately – and we will.”