Russia conducting ‘sham elections’ in occupied areas of Ukraine: Blinken
In a statement released by the State Department, Blinken said, "The Russian Federation is in the process of conducting sham elections in occupied areas of Ukraine.
WASHINGTON, DC: Russia is holding "sham elections" in the occupied region of Ukraine, US State Secretary Antony Blinken said adding that this action shows its blatant disregard for UN Charter principles.
In a statement released by the State Department, Blinken said, "The Russian Federation is in the process of conducting sham elections in occupied areas of Ukraine. These so-called elections are taking place nearly one year after the Kremlin staged sham referenda and purported to annex Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts, and over nine years after Russia purported to annexe Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol."
"The Kremlin hopes these pre-determined, fabricated results will strengthen Russia’s illegitimate claims to the parts of Ukraine it occupies, but this is nothing more than a propaganda exercise," he added. He further stated that such action by Russia shows its blatant disregard for UN Charter principles like respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity, which underpin global security and stability, as per the statement.
"The United States will never recognize the Russian Federation’s claims to any of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and we remind any individuals who may support Russia’s sham elections in Ukraine, including by acting as so-called “international observers,” that they may be subject to sanctions and visa restrictions," Blinken said. This statement came after the voting ends on Thursday and will run through the weekend in certain areas, according to US media, The Hill reported. On August 31, Russia started holding regional elections in “occupied areas” of Ukraine, CNN reported citing Kyiv officials.
Ukraine has condemned the move and has urged citizens in “occupied areas” not to vote in upcoming elections planned by Russian-appointed officials, adding they should "leave the region" if possible. "Russians have started holding 'elections' to pseudo-local councils and 'legislative bodies' in the temporarily occupied territories," CNN quoted Ukraine's National Resistance Center (NRC), an official agency, as saying.
The “Occupation authorities” were planning "early voting" in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions through September 8 at people's homes, the NRC added. The voting will begin in Kherson and Luhansk on September 2, CNN reported.“We urge Ukrainians not to open their doors to the occupiers and, if possible, to leave the region or their homes for the period of 'early voting’”, NRC stated. Voting will then take place at polling stations between September 8 and 10."The Russians need this long scheme to hide the turnout and the lack of interest of the locals in the 'expression of will,'" the Ukrainian agency further added. (ANI)