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.
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First Published: Sep 30 2022 | 6:38 AM IST