NATO countries condemn the referenda in DPR, LPR, Zaporozhya, Kherson
NATO weighs in on Russian matters.
NATO countries came together to condemn upcoming referenda in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics, as well as the Zaporozhya and Kherson regions, according to a statement revealed on Thursday.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the plan to hold so-called 'referenda' on joining the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian regions partly controlled by the Russian military. Sham referenda in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine have no legitimacy and will be a blatant violation of the UN Charter," the statement read.
The statement wrote that NATO allies won't recognize the republics due to the "illegal and illegitimate annexation."
On Tuesday, the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson, which are Russian-held regions, said they would hold referenda on accession into Russia between September 23-27.
On Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell threatened Russia with new sanctions in the event of referenda.
"Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in these 'referenda' and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia would be considered," the statement read.
Within this context, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg considered that the next referenda on joining Russia will be viewed as "illegitimate" and the international community should denounce them.
"Sham referendums have no legitimacy and do not change the nature of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This is a further escalation in Putin’s war. The international community must condemn this blatant violation of international law & step up support for Ukraine," Stoltenberg tweeted.
After the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics demanded help from Russia amid intensive offensives by Ukrainian troops, the Kherson Region and most of Zaporozhye region of Ukraine became controlled by Russia's military.
The head of the administration of the Zaporozhye Region, Yevgeny Balitsky, signed a decree in July, announcing the start of preparations for a referendum on joining Russia and the creation of an election commission to conduct elections.
A referendum was also declared by the Kherson Region government. The seven members of the body will each serve a three-year term.