(WASHINGTON) A senior Russian official has been tasked with organizing a “mock” referendum on annexing Ukrainian territories to Russia, a US State Department spokesman said on Tuesday.
Posted at 6:37 pm yesterday.
Sergei Kriyenko, the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration and close to Vladimir Putin, overseeing the “attempt to annex” Ukrainian territories to Russia, said Vedant Patel during a press conference, “if this is carried out, it is illegal.”
The White House had already warned Moscow may announce one or more “illegal” referendums in occupied Ukraine on August 24 in the coming weeks.
“The fake referendum will attempt to give legitimacy to an apparent land grab that violates Ukraine’s constitution and international law,” Patel continued.
“The United States and the international community know the truth, which is that all of Ukraine will remain Ukraine, and it will remain so,” he added.
The US executive indicated on August 24 that the referendums could be held in the separatist regions of Kherson (south), Zaporijjia, Donetsk and Luhansk, and the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in March 2014 after intervention by Russian special forces and a referendum condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West.