Russia will launch its plan on Friday to annex about 15% of Ukrainian territory through a referendum in four areas controlled by Russian forces, a move the West says is a gross violation of international law that significantly escalates the war. .
After nearly seven months of war, and a crucial battlefield defeat in northeastern Ukraine earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin called for a speedy vote to join Russia, following a referendum on Russian-controlled territories. Collection explicitly supported.
The self-declared Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which Putin recognized as independent just before the invasion, and Russian-established administrations in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions will vote.
The voting, which the West and Ukraine call a sham, is set to begin on Friday and end on Tuesday, with results expected soon.
Following the results Russia would formally annex the territories.
At the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, US President Joe Biden said, “The Kremlin is holding a sham referendum to try to annex parts of Ukraine.”
“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” said Biden, who waged the war as part of a global competition between democracy and autocracy.
Ukraine, whose post-Soviet border Russia recognized under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, says it will never accept Russian control over any of its territories and will fight until the last Russian soldier is evicted.
Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, said that Russia would never give up the territories it controls and which he said he wanted to break away from Kyiv.
He describes the war as a fight to save Russian speakers from persecution in eastern Ukraine and as a way to thwart a Western conspiracy to destroy Russia. Ukraine denies that Russian speakers have been persecuted.
In a direct nuclear warning to the West, Putin said he would defend Russian territory – and these areas of Ukraine would soon be considered Russian territory by Moscow – with all means at his disposal.
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