Ukraine asks UN to condemn 'sham' Russian referendums

US to introduce resolution refusing to recognise new status for eastern Ukrainian regions

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Tuesday that Russia’s just concluded “sham referendums” and attempts to annex territory rule out any talks with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remains president.

Mr Zelenskyy called for Russia’s “complete isolation” and tough new global sanctions.

Speaking to the UN Security Council by video link despite Russian objections, he asked for more military and financial support to defend Ukraine “so the aggressor would lose".

Mr Zelenskyy also sought “clear and legally binding guarantees of collective security” for his country in response to Russia’s latest grab for Ukrainian territory.

The referendums, denounced by Kyiv and its western allies as rigged, took place in the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Kherson provinces, and in occupied areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.

They are widely viewed as a pretext for announcements that Russia is annexing the territories, just as it did with Crimea in 2014.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, did not directly address the resolution ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US would introduce.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield said it would condemn “the sham referendums”, call on all countries not to recognise any altered status to Ukraine, and demand an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.

Mr Nebenzia told the meeting that the referendums were conducted transparently and upheld electoral norms.

Pro-Moscow officials on Tuesday claimed that residents in all four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia, a likely prelude to annexations possibly within days.

That would set the stage for a new and potentially more dangerous phase in the seven-month war after Russia’s February 24 invasion of its smaller neighbour.

Many Security Council members denounced the referendums and stressed that any annexation of territory would never be recognised.

The resolution is certain to be vetoed by Russia, “but we’re hoping to see the rest of the council stand strong and refusing to accept the redrawing", Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russia assailed at UN over Ukraine war - in photos

She said if Russia used its veto, the US and Albania would take the resolution to the 193-member UN General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, “to send an unmistakable message to Moscow”.

Ukraine called the emergency meeting of the Security Council to respond to the referendums and the expected annexation announcements.

“Any annexation in the modern world is a crime, a crime against all states that consider the inviolability of border to be vital for themselves,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

He accused Russia of destroying “the main body of international law", and responding to “any proposals for talks with a new brutality on the battlefield, with even greater crisis and threats to Ukraine and the world".

“Russia’s recognition of these sham referendums as normal, the implementation of the so-called Crimean scenario and another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory, will mean that there is nothing to talk about with this president of Russia,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

“Annexation is the kind of move that puts him alone against the whole of humanity.”

Updated: September 28, 2022, 10:39 AM
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