Moscow may announce as soon as this week one or more “illegal” referendums in occupied Ukraine in an attempt to justify annexation of Ukrainian territory to Russia, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters today. .
“We have information that Russia continues to prepare a mock referendum” in Kherson, Zaporizhia, the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Kharkiv, according to Kirby, who is a national security spokesman. .
“The Russian administration has given instructions to prepare for these referendums,” he added. “Indeed, we expect a Russian announcement of the first referendum simulation(s) before the end of the week,” he noted. “The US and the international community have been very clear: any attempt to bring any Ukrainian territory under (Russian) control will be considered illegal,” he warned.
The US also believes that Russia will falsify the results of these referendums to show that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia. “Quite simply, it’s wrong,” Kirby said, citing several polls taken in recent months among Ukrainians living in Kyiv-controlled areas that show more than 90 percent do not want to join Russia.
President Joe Biden, who today announced a new military aid package of nearly $3 billion for Ukraine, will later speak by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. “We continue to mobilize the free world, to encourage our allies and partners to support Ukraine, which is defending its national sovereignty,” the spokesman emphasized.
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