‘Russia can do what it wants… it won’t change anything’: World leaders slam Vladimir Putin for launching a series of ‘rigged’ referendums in Ukraine to try to annex invaded regions
- World leaders at the United Nations General Assembly have slammed President Vladimir Putin for launching referendums in order to annex parts of Ukraine
- Ukrainian forces are remaining defiant, with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba telling reporters that the referendums ‘will not change anything’
- He doubled down on the sentiment in a tweet Tuesday afternoon
- Pro-Kremlin figures have framed the referendums for occupied regions as an ultimatum to the West to accept the occupied territories as part of Russia
- It could give Moscow justification to mobilize its military reserves
World leaders have slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching a series of ‘rigged’ referendums in order to annex parts of Ukraine.
In the apparently coordinated move, pro-Russian figures announced referendums to join Russia scheduled for September 23 through 27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces — representing around 15 percent of Ukrainian territory.
But Ukraine’s government is remaining defiant as the war drags on.
‘The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything,’ Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday as world leaders were arriving for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
He later doubled down on the issue, tweeting: ‘Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything. Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilization.’
‘Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.’
His comments come as the issue of the ongoing war is set to dominate the discussions at the General Assembly, with many world leaders already siding with Ukrainian officials in the efforts.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on Tuesday that Russia’s ‘sham’ referendums ‘will not change anything.’ He is pictured here with Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN on Tuesday
He tweeted that Ukraine ‘has every right to liberate its territories’
French President Emmanuel Macron said that if the referendum plan ‘wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.’
He described Russia’s invasion as ‘a return to a new age of imperialism and colonies’ and warned that inaction risked ‘tearing down the global order without which peace is not possible.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his pro-Kremlin forces have framed the referendums as an ultimatum to the West
‘It’s not a matter of choosing one side between East and West, or North or South. It’s a matter of responsibility’ to the UN Charter, he said.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world was ‘facing a new fragmentation’ after years of hope following the end of the Cold War and his own nation’s reunification.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world was ‘facing a new fragmentation’ after years of hope following the end of the Cold War and his own nation’s reunification.
Scholz said that President Vladimir Putin, who invaded Ukraine in February, will ‘only give up his war and his imperialist ambitions if he realizes he cannot win.’
‘We stand firmly at the side of those under attack — for the protection of the lives and the freedom of the Ukrainians, and for the protection of our international order,’ he said.
And Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembly the U.N.’s credibility was in danger because of the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council.
‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,’ Kishida said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now says the country’s position has not changed as he referred to the referendums as just ‘some noise.’
Pro-Kremlin figures have framed the referendums for occupied regions as an ultimatum to the West to accept Russian territorial gains or face an all-out war with a nuclear-armed foe.
‘Encroachment onto Russian territory is a crime which allows you to use all the forces of self-defense,’ Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president and now hawkish deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council, said on social media.
Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in Zaporizhzhia, also said becoming part of Russia would help solve the conflict more quickly.
‘This will show people with full clarity that Russia is here to stay, forever,’ he said on Telegram.
‘And they will take the necessary decision more quickly, lay down their weapons and cross over to the side of their people, their countrymen.’
Reframing the fighting in occupied territory as an attack on Russia could give Moscow a justification to mobilize its 2 million-strong military reserves — something it has so far resisted.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan even said Washington was aware of reports Putin might be considering ordering a mobilization.
That would do nothing to undermine Ukraine’s ability to push back Russian aggression, Sullivan said, adding that Washington rejected any such referendums ‘unequivocally’.
A volunteer is seen cleaning up trash near a residential building badly damaged by shelling in Saltivka, a northern district of Kharkiv
Ukrainian residents are seen here grabbing bread as a local humanitarian organization hands out food in the city of Izium on Tuesday
The city of Izium has been occupied by Russians since April 1st
Russia considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up the Donbas region Moscow partially occupied in 2014, to be independent states.
Ukraine and the West consider all parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.
Russia now holds about 60 percent of Donetsk and had captured nearly all of Luhansk by July after slow advances during months of intense fighting.
But their gains are coming under threat after Russian forces were driven from neighboring Kharkiv province this month, losing control of their main supply lines for much of the Donetsk and Luhansk front lines.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now says the country’s position has not changed as he referred to the referendums as just ‘some noise.’
In Kherson, where the regional capital is the only major city Russia has so far captured intact since the invasion, Ukraine has launched a major counter-offensive.
In the south, Russia controls most of Zaporizhzhia but not its regional capital.
Source: Read Full Article