Russia ready to merge occupied Ukrainian territories despite criticism
Russia wants to formally annex parts of neighboring Ukraine where it has military control. Referendums in these areas are reported to have supported Moscow’s rule.
Kyiv. Russia wants to formally annex parts of neighboring Ukraine where it has military control. Referendums in these areas are reported to have supported Moscow’s rule. However, the referendum has been widely criticized and Russia is under international pressure to attack its neighbour. Pro-Moscow governments in the four Russian-occupied regions of southern and eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday evening their citizens had voted to join Russia in a five-day referendum.
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According to Russian election officials, 93 percent of the vote in Zaporizhzhya voted in favor of the merger, while 87 percent in Kherson, 98 percent in Luhansk and 99 percent in Donetsk supported the merger of these parts with Russia. Russian officials in the occupied territories said on Wednesday they would ask President Vladimir Putin to annex the territories to Russia. It is not yet clear in which direction the administrative process will go. Western countries, however, have rejected the referendum. They say Moscow is conducting this futile exercise in an attempt to legitimize the Russian attack on Ukraine that began on February 24. Joseph Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign policy, called the referendum illegal on Wednesday. Ukraine’s foreign ministry in Kiev took a dig at the referendum, calling it a propaganda drama.
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Amid the criticism, the Kremlin seemed to have no effect. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, however, that Russia plans to withdraw Ukrainian troops from the eastern Donetsk region within a very short time, where Moscow forces and separatist elements control some 60 percent of the area.
The European Union (EU) also expressed its dismay at Tuesday’s reports of damage to two underground natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany and warned of countermeasures in the event of an attack on Europe’s energy network. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign policy, said on Wednesday that all available information indicates that the oil spill was the result of deliberate manipulation, although the perpetrators have not yet been identified.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news is published from PTI language feed.