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Russia’s referendums in Ukrainian territory drawn criticism from the US

Antony Blinken reiterates US 'does not, and will never, recognize the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referenda'

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The US on Thursday slammed Russia’s referendums in Ukraine territories, saying the results were orchestrated in Moscow.

“The Kremlin’s sham referenda are a futile effort to mask what amounts to a further attempt at a land grab in Ukraine,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

“To be clear: the results were orchestrated in Moscow and do not reflect the will of the people of Ukraine,” he said.

Blinken reiterated that the US “does not, and will never, recognize the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referenda or Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory.”

“This spectacle conducted by Russia’s proxies is illegitimate and violates international law. It is an affront to the principles of international peace and security,” he said.

Blinken also accused Russia of forcing “much of the population in areas it seized to flee and compelled Ukraine’s citizens that remained to cast ballots at gunpoint, in fear for their safety, and the safety of their loved ones.”

“Ukraine’s people have consistently expressed their desire for a free and democratic future. They want their country to remain independent and sovereign,” he said.

Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and Russian-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson held referendums on joining Russia on Sept. 23 – 27.

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Around 98% of voters chose to join Russia, Moscow claimed, but the results were highly disputed and dismissed by Ukraine and its Western allies.

The move has been widely condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US calling the “sham” elections a violation of international law.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk