US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounces referendums in Ukraine as Russian 'land grab'
In a strongly worded statement, Blinken said that Russia has forced much of the population in areas it seized to flee and compelled Ukraine's citizens that remained to cast ballots at gunpoint, in fear for their safety, and the safety of their loved ones
Washington: Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday accused Russia of a “land grab” after referendums in Ukraine and that the US will never recognise the legitimacy or outcome of the “sham” referenda.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that four regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – would be folded into Russia during a Kremlin ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin.v
“The Kremlin’s sham referenda are a futile effort to mask what amounts to a further attempt at a land grab in Ukraine. To be clear: the results were orchestrated in Moscow and do not reflect the will of the people of Ukraine,” Blinken said.
“The United States does not, and will never, recognise the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referenda or Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory,” he asserted.
“This spectacle conducted by Russia’s proxies is illegitimate and violates international law. It is an affront to the principles of international peace and security,” he charged.
In a strongly worded statement, Blinken said that Russia has forced much of the population in areas it seized to flee and compelled Ukraine’s citizens that remained to cast ballots at gunpoint, in fear for their safety, and the safety of their loved ones.
Ukraine’s people have consistently expressed their desire for a free and democratic future. They want their country to remain independent and sovereign. Their soldiers are fighting bravely, and citizens in Russia-controlled or occupied areas of Ukraine are resisting Moscow’s efforts to change Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders by brute force, he said.
The United States and our allies and partners will continue to assist Ukraine in its fight to defend its territory against Russian aggression. We wholeheartedly support Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, Blinken said.
The strikes have been seen as attempts at Russian retribution against Ukraine's beleaguered but defiant people after Ukrainian troops over two week ago liberated the city that had been in Russian hands for many months
The strike came as Kyiv claimed another territorial victory and just days after Moscow said it was strengthening its position on the Crimean peninsula
US media recently reported that some senior officials were beginning to encourage Ukraine to consider talks, which Zelensky has so far rejected without a prior withdrawal of Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory