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Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said Thursday that Moscow has been “busing” Russian citizens to vote in the illegal referendums it plans to hold in several Ukrainian regions this week.
“Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian territory is another dangerous escalation as well as a rejection of diplomacy,” Blinken said in a speech to the UN Security Council.
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Blinken called Russia’s strategy to not only annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, but also its “filtering” operations that have resulted in forced deportations, reports of torture and displacement of millions a “diabolical strategy.”
“Violently uproot thousands of Ukrainians. Bus in Russians to replace them. Call a referendum. Manipulate the results to show near-unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation,” he detailed. “This is straight out of the Crimea playbook.”
Blinken’s comments referenced a 2014 occupation and subsequent election that Western officials have ruled was rigged after Russia claimed 97 percent of “Crimea” voters supported annexation into Russia.
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Reporting on the election later showed that only 30 percent of the criminals themselves voted in the referendum, and of those who did turn out, only 15 percent supported annexation.
The secretary confirmed that the United States will not recognize any results of Russia’s “election” in Ukraine.
“It is imperative that every member of this council, and for that matter every member of the United Nations, reject the fake referendums and unequivocally declare that all Ukrainian territory is and will remain part of Ukraine,” Blinken said. “No Russian demand to annex territory can take away Ukraine’s right to defend its own country.”
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The majority of permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council have called on Russia to end its war in Ukraine.
China is the only member besides Russia, which is also stuck in the council, to have condemned the war and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces and halt all escalating language – including his threatening nuclear rhetoric.