RUSSIA, while declaring victory by claiming that more than 99 percent of the people said ‘Yes’ in the accession referendums held in the separatist Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson and Zaporojye in the south, which they occupied in Ukraine, the five-day vote in the region drew reaction from many countries. Ukraine referendum stated that its results were “null and invalid”, UN and the US called the ballots illegal. After the announcement of the results, the Donetsk and Lugansk administrations announced that they have applied to join Russia, and Kherson and Zaporozhye are expected to apply soon.
‘WE WILL GET BACK OUR LANDS’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “This nonsense in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum.” Annexation Zelenski said that the referendums will not change their strategy and they will take back the occupied lands of the country and said, “We are advancing and saving our country.”
UN: NOT LEGAL
Dicarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the referendums were illegal under international law. Speaking at the UN Security Council, Dicarlo said, “Unilateral actions aiming to give legitimacy to an attempt to forcibly take another state’s territory by a state while claiming to represent the will of the people are not legally acceptable under international law.”
EU High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy Josep Borrell announced that the EU condemns the referendums and their results. “The EU condemns the holding of illegal referendums and their falsified results,” Borrell said on Twitter. “This is another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity among systematic human rights violations,” he said.
‘RESULTS HAVE NO Legitimacy’
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on his social media account that the results of the referendum were not valid. Stating that he spoke with the Ukrainian leader Zelenski on the phone, Stoltenberg said, “I made it clear that the NATO allies’ support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and right of self-defense is unwavering. The fake referendums organized by Russia have no legitimacy and are a clear violation of international law. These lands belong to Ukraine,” he said.
USA: WE DON’T KNOW
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced that they would not recognize the results of the referendum, which he described as “a diabolical plan by Russia”. Blinken said, “If the annexation continues to Russia, we will bring additional, serious and rapid costs” and that they will continue to support the Ukrainians to take their lands back.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW
In the next period, Russian leader Vladimir Putin is expected to address the parliament and announce the annexation of the said regions to Russia. On the other hand, not all regions are under Russian control. While the capital of the Zaporozhye region, where Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is located, is still under the control of Ukrainian forces, not all of Donetsk has yet been captured by Russian forces. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitri Peskov touched upon this issue in a statement to reporters yesterday and said, “Not all of the (so-called) Donetsk People’s Republic lands have been liberated yet. We are talking about the region where the borders were determined as of 2014. Therefore, all the lands of the Donetsk People’s Republic must be liberated.