The USA and the EU condemned Russiaʼs intention to annex the occupied Ukrainian territories

Sofiia Telishevska

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Turkish President Recep Erdogan that Germany does not recognize any "referendums" that Russia is trying to hold on the territory of sovereign Ukraine.

"The interlocutors agreed that Russia should immediately stop hostilities and completely withdraw from Ukraine. In this context, the federal chancellor also made it clear that fictitious referendums in the territories seized by Russia are unacceptable and will not be recognized," said Steffen Gebestreit, the spokesman for the federal government.

Scholz and Erdogan also discussed the economic consequences of Russian aggression. At the same time, the chancellor emphasized that the cause of the global food crisis was Russian aggression, not sanctions. The sanctions introduced by the EU do not apply to Russian grain exports but to specific other areas, so it is essential not to circumvent them, emphasized the head of the German government.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas noted on Twitter that her country would never recognize illegal voting in the occupied Donbas, Kherson Region, and Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine has every right to return its territories.

"Russia continues to blackmail and illegally tries to take what does not belong to it. Such actions will have the opposite effect and rally our support for Ukraine. More military aid, more sanctions against the aggressor, holding Russia accountable for its crimes," Kallas said.

The reaction of the USA also appeared. The "referendums" organized by Russia insulted the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the White House said. The US Department of Justice is now advocating the legislative transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter that "imaginary referendums have no legitimacy and do not change the nature of Russiaʼs aggressive war against Ukraine. This is a further escalation of Putinʼs war. The international community must condemn this flagrant violation of international law and strengthen support for Ukraine."

Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the "referendum" organized by Russia was worthless.

  • On Tuesday, the so-called public council of the Kherson region appealed to the "head" of the occupied region with the initiative to urgently hold a "referendum" on joining Russia. The same appeal was made in occupied Melitopol.
  • Also, on September 20, the State Duma of Russia adopted amendments to the Criminal Code, introducing increased punishment for conscripts and military personnel and the concepts of "mobilization" and "wartime". They introduce punishments for desertion, failure to appear for duty, and capture. "Referendums" on joining the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia were scheduled for September 23-27.
  • The Russian Federation declares that in case of the illegal annexation of Ukrainian lands, Russia will be able to defend them as its own — that is, the Russian authorities can announce mobilization or even bring nuclear weapons into combat readiness.