The White House on Tuesday accused Russia of “working to annex Ukrainian territories” it has taken over in recent months, using the same “instruction manual” it did for Crimea in 2014.
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Moscow’s representatives in those areas “will hold a puppet referendum on reunification with Russia,” said John Kirby, who coordinates the Biden administration’s communications on strategic issues, “probably during the Russian regional elections in September.”
“Illegal” representatives imposed by Moscow in these regions will “hold a puppet referendum on reunification with Russia”, “probably during Russian regional elections in September”, he added.
At the same time, Russia wants to establish Russian banks there to normalize the use of the ruble, “force residents to apply for Russian citizenship”, “impose its loyalists in the security services”, “destroy the civil Internet”, he further promised.
John Kirby condemned the annexation of the territories as a “forceful violation of the UN Charter” and promised “new sanctions against Russia” if it continued its preparations. “Moscow will be even worse than today,” he threatened.
Since launching its offensive on 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 regions under Moscow’s control want to maintain their ties with Russia, although the Kremlin has not officially expressed this goal publicly.
Five days ago, Moscow-appointed officials in the Zaporizhia region gave a timetable for the first time, announcing that they wanted to hold a referendum on annexation by Russia from early autumn.