Ukraine urges allies to condemn referendums as pro-Russians declare victory

Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 28 (EFE).- Ukraine on Wednesday urged the international community to condemn the annexation referendums held in Russian-occupied territories as separatist leaders said they were traveling to Moscow to formalize the results, which have been dismissed by Kyiv and its allies.  

“Ukraine calls on all states and international organizations to immediately condemn the Kremlin’s illegal actions in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and to increase the isolation of Russia,” Ukraine’s foreign ministry said in a statement. 

It added that the European Union, Nato and the G7 should “immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia” by imposing tough new sanctions and delivering military assistance to Ukraine. 

“We call on our partners to make it clear to Russia that the only response to its attempts at annexation, blackmail and ultimatums will be increased support for Ukraine,” the statement said. 

A woman holds her ballot during voting in a so-called ‘referendum’ on the joining of Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine to Russia, at a polling station in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, southeastern Ukraine, 27 September 2022. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

The comments come as pro-Russian separatist leaders from Donetsk and Luhansk said they were on their way to Moscow to formalize the results. 

The polls, rejected as a “sham” by Kyiv’s partners, including the United States, were overseen by Russian-installed and pro-Russian authorities in four Ukrainian regions — Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which have been partially occupied by Russian forces since the invasion began in February. 

Separatist leaders said Wednesday that the results in favor of joining the Russian Federation ranged between 87 to 99%. 

The highest support for annexation was recorded in Donetsk, where 99.23% of people voted in favor of joining Russia while Luhansk recorded 98.42% votes in favor, the electoral commission said. Swathes of both regions have been de facto ruled by pro-Russian forces since the 2014 separatist uprising and subsequent war in eastern Ukraine. 

Ukraine and the international community have denied the legitimacy of the results. 

A woman prepares to cast her ballot during voting in a so-called referendum on the joining of Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine to Russia, in a hospital in Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, 25 September 2022.  EFE/EPA/STRINGER

The US on Wednesday said it would submit a resolution to the United Nations security council condemning the polls.

According to Russian law, president Vladimir Putin must first recognise the independence of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson before approving their accession to Russia. Putin has already recognized the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk. 

The process of annexation of the four Ukrainian territories could take up to 12 days. 

This is twice as long as it took to incorporate the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. EFE

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