The United States accused Russia of preparing referendums with manipulated results to annex territories in eastern Ukraine within “the next few weeks” and announced new sanctions if Moscow goes ahead with its plans.
This was stated by a senior official from the Joe Biden government in a video call with journalists in which he stated that “any attempt at annexation (by Russia) is illegal, illegitimate and downright ridiculous.”
The administration imposed by Moscow in the Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia, controlled for the most part by the Russian Army, announced last Monday the start of preparations for the organization of a referendum for accession to Russia.
According to US intelligence, Russia plans to convene “fake referendums” of annexation in several eastern Ukrainian provinces, and Moscow has already instructed local officials to begin preparations.
The senior official of the Biden Administration assured that the Russian government is “concerned” for the possible low participation in these consultations as a result of the “damage that Russia has caused to Ukraine and the widespread opposition to the Russian occupation.”
“Russian officials know that what they are doing lacks legitimacy and will not reflect the will of the people.” explained the official, who assured that Russia “will manipulate the results.”
“Any claim by the Kremlin that the Ukrainian people somehow want to join Russia is simply false.”he remarked.
The official stated that the United States has already imposed economic sanctions on some of the “puppetry” that the Kremlin has placed in these regions and warned that it will respond “quickly and severely with additional sanctions if Russia goes ahead with its plans.”.
He also promised that Washington will continue to send military aid to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion that began on February 24 and will investigate all human rights violations that have occurred during the war.
The Kremlin has distanced itself from possible consultations and has said that these are popular initiatives that arise in territories controlled by Russian troops.