The White House accused Russia on Tuesday of “working to annex Ukrainian territories” that came under its control in recent months, using the same “instruction manual” it had for Crimea in 2014.
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Moscow’s representatives in those regions will “hold puppet referendums on reunification with Russia” “during Russian regional elections in September,” said Joan Kirby, who coordinates Biden administration communications on strategic issues.
“Illegal” representatives imposed by Moscow in these regions will “hold a puppet referendum on reunification with Russia”, he added, “during Russian regional elections in September”.
At the same time, Russia is trying to set up Russian banks there to generalize the use of the ruble, “force residents to apply for Russian citizenship”, “impose its loyalists on the security services”, “sabotage the civil Internet”, he further promised.
The annexation of the territories “forcefully violates the UN Charter”, John Kirby condemned, promising “new sanctions against Russia” if the preparations went ahead. “Moscow will become even more of a pariah than it is today,” he threatened.
Since the start of the offensive against Ukraine on February 24, the Russian army has captured large parts of the two southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia. Since then, officials in these areas under Moscow’s control say they want to formalize their ties with Russia, even if the Kremlin has not officially expressed this intention publicly.
Five days ago, Moscow-appointed officials in the Zaporizhia region offered, for the first time, a timetable, announcing that Russia intends to hold a referendum on annexation from early autumn.