War in Ukraine: NATO condemns “a new escalation” after “referendums” on annexation with Russia announced in separatist regions

Moscow-appointed authorities in four of Ukraine’s regions announced on Tuesday that they would urgently hold “referendums” on joining Russia from September 23 to 27 amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Ukrainian presidency has pledged to “reduce” the Russian threat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with foreign diplomats and defense officials during the day, which means he will certainly be present.

Commentators have raised fears of a nuclear war if Russia annexes the territories and the Kremlin deems war on its soil.

Separatist forces in Lugansk and Donetsk regions announced the vote, as did Russian occupation authorities in Kherson and Zaporijjia (south). The elections, scheduled for this week, come as Ukraine enters its 8th month of war.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said “These fictitious polls are not acceptable” NATO condemns “new Russian expansionism”.

US condemns “malicious” elections.

French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out at him at the United Nations General Assembly “A Return to the Age of Imperialism and Colonies”, Shortly after calling the announced polls “a travesty”.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib also responded. “The so-called ‘referendums’ are not fooling anyone. They are part of a pattern aimed at strengthening Russia’s aggression and illegal occupation. The scenario is known in advance. We will continue to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity”, He said through Twitter.

Preparations for several months

The vote, modeled after Russia’s 2014 annexation of the (southern) Crimean peninsula, condemned by Kyiv and the West, has been months in the making.

The timetable appears to have accelerated with the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which forced the Russian army to retreat in the country’s northeast. Russian authorities have previously designated November 4 as the Day of Russian National Unity.

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Separatist leaders in Luhansk first announced that the vote would be held over four days starting on Friday this week.

They were followed by the separatist leader of Donetsk and the occupying leaders of Kherson and Zaporizhia. Mr. All to approve the results of the poll. They invited Putin.

“Blackmail” and the Russian reverse

Ukraine warned on Tuesday that the Russian threat would be “dissolved”, with Andriï Iermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, denouncing a Russian “black mail” fueled by “fear of failure”.

Head of Diplomacy Dmytro Kuleba assured that Ukraine will do its part “Continue to liberate his lands”.

The announcements come after a Russian backlash in early September, with Moscow’s military withdrawing from the Kharkiv region in the face of pressure from Kyiv forces, strong on Western arms and equipment supplies.

Russian diplomacy has told the French ambassador in Moscow that continued arms supplies to Ukraine are “unacceptable”.

The Ukrainian army is launching another offensive in the south against the Kherson region and in the direction of the Luhansk region, which Moscow fully captured in the spring at the cost of months of deadly fighting.

kyiv thus hopes to recapture the village of Philokorivka, whose victory cost Russia dearly in May, when its forces there were destroyed while attempting to cross the Chivarsky Donets River. Images of destroyed tanks went around the world.

Twenty kilometers away, from Chiversk, Ukrainian artillery bombarded Russian positions.
“It hits really hard,” A grocer in the city told AFP Natalia. “In the morning we come out of the cellars and see burnt houses.”

In the village, weary Ukrainian artillerymen rest on their self-propelled guns covered in wood. “We’ve been firing all night and we’re going to leave to reload (ammunition, editor’s note) and then come back,” One of them said.

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A nuclear weapon

Meeting with arms manufacturers and defense officials on Tuesday, Mr. Putin called for the “quick delivery of the necessary weapons” to his military to “speed up production capacity.”

Receiving the new ambassador’s credentials, he emphasized the merits of his “sovereign” foreign policy.

At the same time, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament passed a resolution punishing soldiers who surrendered to the enemy, deserted, or plundered.

On Tuesday morning, former President Dmitry Medvedev and the current No. 2 in the Russian Security Council ruled that a “referendum” on annexation would restore “historical justice,” with the Kremlin considering Ukraine historically Russian.

“Trespassing on the territory of Russia is a crime, which, if it happens, allows you to use all forces in self-defense.” He threatened.

According to independent Russia analyst Tatiana Stanovaya, holding these votes means Putin wants arrogance. “Right to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory”.

Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian TV channel RT, has ruled that there will be one this week. “Forerunner of our immediate success” One “Nuclear War”.

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