Borrell said the European Union strongly condemns the Kremlin’s plans for a pseudo-referendum.
Vice-President of the European Commission, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell promises new sanctions against the Russian Federation for the intention to hold a “referendum” in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
This is stated in a statement by Borrell on the website of the European External Action Service.
“Today, the so-called “authority”, illegally appointed by Russia on the territory of Ukraine, which it occupies by military means, announced an illegal “referendum”. This is an attempt by Russia to legitimize its illegal military control, and aims to forcefully change the borders of Ukraine in clear violation of the UN Charter and independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Borrell said.
“The European Union strongly condemns this planned illegal “referendum”, which is contrary to the legitimate and democratically elected Ukrainian authorities, violates the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and is a flagrant violation of international law. The results of such actions will be null and void and will not be recognized by the European Union and its member countries,” the statement said.
The High Representative of the EU noted that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has intimidated, illegally detained, tortured and kidnapped Ukrainian citizens, and a significant part of the population in the occupied territories was forced to flee. In addition, legally elected local officials were in some cases forcibly removed and changed. Freedom of speech, access to the Internet, free and independent media were also significantly limited.
“For this reason, these illegal “votes” cannot be considered under any pretext as a free expression of the will of the people living in these regions under constant Russian military threat and intimidation,” Borrell stressed.
“Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in these “referendums” and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia will be considered,” Borrell said.
He also said that the European Union is amazed at the determination and courage of Ukrainian residents of areas that are now under Russian military control, and who continue to peacefully oppose the illegal Russian presence.
“The European Union remains unwavering in its support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and urges the Russian Federation to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” Borrell stressed.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Russian occupiers are planning to hold pseudo-referendums in the captured parts of Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Luhansk regions on September 23-27 in order to join the Russian Federation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that Russia’s plans to hold pseudo-referendums in the temporarily occupied territories will not prevent the Armed Forces of Ukraine from liberating Ukrainian lands from occupation.