No talks with Putin if his lands are annexed

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Ukraine’s president warned on Tuesday that Russia has just concluded “bogus referenda” and attempts to annex Ukrainian territory rule out any talks with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remains president, and called for “the ‘complete isolation’ from Russia and a tough new world policy. punishments.

Speaking to the UN Security Council via video link over Russian objections, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for additional military and financial support to defend Ukraine “so that the aggressor loses” and “clear guarantees and legally binding collective security” for his country in response to Russia. last hold on Ukrainian territory.

The referendums, denounced by Kyiv and its Western allies as rigged, took place in the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Kherson regions, and in the occupied areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. They are widely seen as a pretext to announce that Russia is annexing the territories, just as it annexed Crimea in 2014.

Pro-Moscow officials said later Tuesday that residents of Ukraine’s four occupied areas had voted to join Russia, a likely prelude to annexations possibly within days that would pave the way for a potentially more dangerous new phase in the seven-month war that followed Russia. February 24, invasion of its small neighbor.

Ukraine convened the emergency meeting of the Security Council to respond to referendums and Russia’s expected annexation announcements.

“Any annexation in the modern world is a crime, a crime against all states that consider the inviolability of borders vital to themselves,” Zelenskyy said.

He accused Russia of destroying “the essentials of international law” and responding to “any proposal for talks with new brutality on the battlefield, with even greater crisis and threats to Ukraine and the world. “.

“Russia’s recognition of these mock referendums as normal, the implementation of the so-called Crimea scenario and another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory will mean that there is nothing to discuss with this President of the Russia,” Zelenskyy said. “Annexation is the kind of move that puts him alone against all of humanity.”

Many members of the Security Council denounced the referendums and stressed that any annexation of territory would never be recognized.

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo said referendum voting took place at polling centers and ‘de facto authorities accompanied by soldiers also went door to door with ballot boxes’ .

“They cannot be called a genuine expression of the popular will,” she told the council. “Unilateral actions were intended to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the attempted acquisition by force by one state of the territory of another state, while claiming to represent the will of the people, cannot be considered legal under the international law. “

Britain’s Deputy Ambassador James Kariuki called the referendums “illegal and illegitimate” and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principles of the UN Charter.

Albanian Ambassador Ferit Hoxha said the referendums are a repeat of the scenario used by Russia in Crimea, are against the Ukrainian constitution and “have nothing to do with democracy, nothing to do with the free will of Ukrainians” .

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that the United States and Albania would soon circulate a Security Council resolution that would condemn “the sham referendum”, call on all countries not to recognize any modified status on the Ukraine and would demand the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.

The resolution will certainly face a Russian veto, “but we hope to see the rest of the council stand firm and refuse to accept the reshuffle,” she said.

The US ambassador said she expects a Security Council vote on the resolution later this week or early next week.

Thomas-Greenfield said that if Russia used its veto, the United States and Albania would take the resolution to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, where there is no veto, “to send an unequivocal message to Moscow”.

The assembly overwhelmingly passed two resolutions in March, backed by around 140 countries, demanding an immediate end to Russia’s military operation and withdrawal of its forces, and blaming Moscow for the humanitarian crisis that has now hit many countries, especially in the developing world, with food. and energy shortages, rising prices and rising inflation.

Explaining why the United States was moving forward with the resolution, Thomas-Greenfield quoted US President Joe Biden addressing the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly last week and said, “if the nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, so we put to risk everything that this institution means for everything.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said 100 independent international observers from 40 countries observed the referendums, “and they were particularly surprised by the enthusiasm of the people”.

He accused Ukrainian forces of using Western ‘military might’ to step up artillery strikes and bomb towns where there was a referendum ‘to sow panic among citizens and make futile attempts to undermine the vote’ .

Nebenzia claimed that the purpose of the West in supporting Ukraine and approaching Russia’s borders “is to weaken and bleed Russia as much as possible”.

“Their dream is to break Russia and subjugate it to its own will,” he said.

Hinting at the possibility of more referendums and annexations, he called the situation in Ukraine a “catastrophe” and said that Kyiv had been rejected not only by the people of Crimea and Donbass, but also by the regions of Kherson and Zhaporizhzhia.

“This process will continue if Kyiv does not recognize its mistake and its strategic errors and does not start to be guided by the interests of its own people, and does not blindly carry out the will of those who play them,” Nebenzia says.

Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador, replied, “I have no doubt in my mind that they will attempt to do so.”

She reiterated Biden’s unwavering support for Ukraine, saying “that’s why it’s so important that we stand up against this immediately — and we will.”

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