According to a statement released by the White House on Friday.
The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan denounced the “fake referendums that Russia is trying to use to create a false pretext to change the status of the territory sovereign of Ukraine”, which “have no legal effect or legitimacy”. and “in no way uphold democratic standards,” the statement said.
The two Donbass republics – recognized as independent states by Moscow in February – and the two regions of southern Ukraine, mostly under the control of Russian troops, are holding a vote on joining Russia. Voting began on Friday and is expected to wrap up next week.
Insisting that “never recognize these referenda“or next”Russian annexation“, the G7 said they”in no way represent a legitimate expression of the will of the Ukrainian people.”
Instead, the G7 said it would continue to provide “financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support“to the Kyiv government and launch”rebuilding effortsat a conference in Germany next month. “We will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes.“, concludes the press release.
Following the February 2014 US-backed coup in Kyiv, several regions refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government. Crimea voted to join Russia in March of the same year. Ukraine and the G7 have also refused to recognize it, calling it an illegitimate annexation. Soon after, Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence and were targeted by the Ukrainian military in what kyiv called “counter-terrorist operation.”
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing Ukraine’s failure to implement the Minsk Accords, designed to give Donetsk and Luhansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that kyiv’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to save time andcreate powerful armed forces.”
After recognizing the two Donbass republics as independent states, Moscow demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.