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Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin makes statement on sham referendums

2022-09-20T16:45:22.115Z

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to give a speech on the mock referendums in the evening. It comes at a time when there is talk of possible mobilization within Russia.



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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Photo: GRIGORY SYSOYEV / AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently intends to make a statement on the planned referenda in Ukraine later this evening.

This is reported by the Russian Internet portal rbc.ru.

What Putin will say is currently unknown.

The speech is expected at 7 p.m. German time.

Presumably, it could also be about further mobilization.

Recently, there have been reports of a deterioration in morale among Russian soldiers.

Now the Duma has approved a bill to increase punishment for a number of crimes, such as desertion, damage to military property and disobedience, when committed during military mobilization or in combat situations.

The bill, passed on Tuesday at second and third readings by the lower house of parliament, the Duma, comes amid debate inside Russia over a possible mobilization.

Kyiv, meanwhile, wants to prosecute all organizers of sham referendums in the Russian-occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.

"The relevant authorities of Ukraine will search for them and hold them accountable," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

At the same time, the authority assured that the so-called referendums will not have any legal consequences.

No one will recognize borders changed in this way.

"All Ukrainian territories will be liberated from Russian occupation and the Russian leadership will be held to the strictest accountability for organized terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity on Ukrainian soil," the ministry threatened.

These are sham referendums because they are being held without Ukraine's consent, under martial law and not according to democratic principles.

Free work by international independent observers is also not possible.

"State that finances terrorism"

Kyiv called on the international community to impose stronger sanctions on Moscow.

In addition, Russia should be declared a “state that finances terrorism”.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has rejected as unacceptable the referendums on annexation by Russia announced by the pro-Russian authorities in four Ukrainian regions.

It is "very clear that these sham referendums cannot be accepted," Scholz said on the fringes of the UN general debate in New York.

They are "not covered" by "international law and the understandings that the world community has reached."

Scholz spoke of an "attempt at imperialist aggression" that was to be "disguised" by the votes.

The Russian army invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Large parts of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Cherson regions were occupied.

In a hastily scheduled mock referendum, they are supposed to decide whether to join the Russian Federation.

In 2014, Russia had already annexed the Crimean peninsula in a similar way.

til/dpa/AFP

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-09-20

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