New Delhi: Voting began on Friday in three Moscow controlled regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk – on referendums to become part of Russia, reported news agency PTI. In Kherson, a region almost fully controlled by Moscow, the balloting was also expected to get underway.
The referendums has been labelled a “sham” by the West and a step toward annexing the territories by Moscow.
United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday said that “these referenda will be manipulated” and asserted the US would never recognise Russia’s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine.
“These referenda are an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that underpin the international system and let lie at the heart of the United Nations Charter,” Sullivan told reporters at a press conference at the White House, as reported by PTI.
“We know that these referenda will be manipulated. Russia will use these sham referenda as a basis to purportedly annex these territories either now or in the future,” he added.
Speaking further Sullivan said, the US has been warning for months about Russia’s plans to hold “sham referenda in areas of Ukraine under its control, and even in areas of the country not currently under its control, in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty”.
Russia is rushing to hold these referendums in response to Ukraine’s gains on the battlefield as well as to prepare for potential mobilisation measures, the NSA Sullivan said.
“We will never recognise this territory as anything other than a part of Ukraine. We reject Russia’s actions unequivocally. We will continue to work with our allies and partners to impose costs on Russia,” said Sullivan, as reported by PTI
The referendums follow President Vladimir Putin’s order of a partial mobilisation, which could add some 300,000 Russian troops to invade Ukraine.
(With PTI Inputs)