US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his administration would ‘never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia’, during a press briefing with Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Washington DC on Tuesday.
“We and many other countries have already been crystal clear. We will not indeed we will never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia,” Blinken said. “Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself throughout its territory, including to take back the territory that has been illegally seized one way or another by Russia.”
The local governments of the LPR and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as well as those established in Kherson and Zaporozhye after the regions came under Russian control, announced last week that voting would take place from September 23-27.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he was ready to support the decisions taken, with his country prepared ‘to provide the safe environment’ and let the people ‘express their will’.
Ukraine and its Western allies have described the voting as a ‘sham’. On Friday, Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, described the exercise as a ‘propaganda show’.
France and Germany vowed not to recognise the results, while EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell claimed those involved in organising them ‘will be held accountable’.
US President Joe Biden said that Russia had ‘violated the basic principles of the UN Charter’ and also made ‘open nuclear threats against Europe’.
Moscow launched the military offensive in Ukraine earlier this year, after recognising the independence of the DPR and LPR.
Kiev condemned the action, while President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered martial law and full mobilisation in February.