Canada will ‘never’ recognize Russian annexation referendums in Ukraine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday morning added Canada’s voice to the chorus of Western countries who have been denouncing for 24 hours the « simulacra of referendums » held by Russia in the occupied areas of Ukraine, also affirming that he was not going to recognize the results of these consultations carried out under threat and intimidation.

“The so-called referendums held by Russia in the illegally occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions of Ukraine have absolutely no legitimacy,” Trudeau said in an interview Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Canada does not and will never recognize the results of these sham referendums or any illegal attempt by Russia to annex Ukrainian territories. »

With support for annexation to Russia varying from 87% to 99%, according to the Russian occupation authorities, the pro-Russian leaders of the Ukrainian regions under Moscow’s control on Wednesday officially demanded their attachment to Russia.

“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich [Poutine] […], I ask you to consider the issue of joining the Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation,” said Leonid Passechnik, separatist leader of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. A request deemed illegal by kyiv and denounced by the Ukrainian presidency as well as by its Western allies.

The so-called referendums held by Russia in the illegally occupied regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, Ukraine, have absolutely no legitimacy

From London, British Prime Minister Liz Truss also assured Wednesday, during an exchange with Volodymyr Zelensky, that the United Kingdom would « never recognize Russian attempts » to annex a « sovereign territory ». She also reiterated « that Ukraine could count on [son] support until the president [russe Vladimir] Putin be defeated,” according to the British account of the call between the two leaders.

On Tuesday, Washington, the European Union and NATO unanimously condemned Russia’s tactic aimed at strengthening its grip on Ukrainian territories that kyiv has threatened to take back from Russian forces since the successful counter-offensives of the last weeks. Even China, although close to Russia, called for respect for « the territorial integrity of all countries », after taking « note of the latest developments in the situation in Ukraine », Beijing said on Tuesday, by the voice of his ambassador to the UN Security Council.

« The results of this plebiscite speak for themselves: the inhabitants of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporizhia do not want to return to their former life and have made a conscious and free choice in favor of Russia », affirmed the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Russian diplomacy, the inhabitants of these regions « had no other solution », while Moscow, to justify its offensive, accused kyiv of preparing the repression of the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine.

« The logical result […] was the decision of the inhabitants of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporijjia to ask for the protection of Russia”, assured the ministry by taking up the rhetoric used by the Kremlin to justify its offensive, evoking a “population of Donbass subjected to extermination systematic and cynical” by Kyiv forces since the start of the war with pro-Russian separatists in 2014.

« This is a new violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in a context of systematic human rights violations, » EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel.

Other sanctions in sight

On Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, promised not to yield anything to the strongman of the Kremlin. “We will act to protect our people: both in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhia region, in the Donbass [et aussi] in the currently occupied areas of the Kharkiv region and in the Crimea,” he said in a video sent to the Telegram network, his first reaction after the announcement of the results according to the Soviet and dictatorial mathematics broadcast by the pro-Russian authorities .

For Ottawa, these referendums clearly contravene international law and are motivated by the fact that President Putin believes that he can redraw the map of the world as he pleases, said Justin Trudeau.

« These shams show that Putin understands that he is losing this war he started, this illegal war, this barbaric war, » Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday after leaving the meeting. of the Liberal caucus, in parliament, Wednesday noon. The important thing for us, for Canada, is to continue to support Ukraine, to allow the Ukrainians — who are so brave — to end the war with a victory, because the end of the war means the end of the torture, the end of the murders. »

In response to this « further escalation of tensions », Prime Minister Trudeau also announced his intention « to impose other sanctions against individuals and entities », without giving further details.

With Agence France-Presse and Marie Vastel

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