Russia is set to formally annex areas of Ukraine where it exercises military control after referendums reportedly endorsed the Moscow regime.
But the polls were widely discredited and earned the Kremlin no relief on Wednesday from international pressure over its assault on its neighbor.
Pro-Moscow administrations in the four occupied regions of southern and eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday evening that their residents had voted to join Russia in five days of Kremlin-orchestrated polls.
According to electoral officials based in Russia, 93% of the votes cast in the Zaporizhzhia region were in favor of annexation, as were 87% in the Kherson region, 98% in the Lugansk region and 99% in Donetsk.
Russian officials in those occupied areas said Wednesday they would ask President Vladimir Putin to integrate them into Russia. It was not immediately clear how the administrative process would unfold.
Western countries, however, dismissed the polls as a meaningless pretext staged by Moscow in an attempt to legitimize its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Tuesday night that Washington would propose a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Russia’s “fictitious” vote.
The resolution would also urge member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and demand that Russia withdraw its troops from its neighbour, she tweeted.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also weighed in on the ballots, calling them “illegal” on Wednesday and describing the results as “tampered with”.
“This is another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty (and) territorial integrity, (in the midst of) systematic human rights violations,” Borrell tweeted.
In Kyiv, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the ballots a “propaganda show” and “void and worthless”.
“Forcing residents of these territories to fill out papers with the barrel of a gun is another Russian crime during its aggression against Ukraine,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
He called on the EU, NATO and the Group of Seven major industrial nations to “immediately and significantly” step up pressure on Russia through new sanctions and to dramatically increase their military aid to the EU. Ukraine.
The EU also expressed outrage over Tuesday’s alleged sabotage of two undersea natural gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany and warned of retaliation for any attacks on European energy networks.
Borrell said Wednesday that “all available information indicates that these leaks were the result of a deliberate act,” although the perpetrators have not yet been identified.
“Any deliberate disruption of Europe’s energy infrastructure is completely unacceptable and will be met with a strong and united response,” Borrell said in a statement on behalf of the 27 EU member countries.
The war in Ukraine has caused an energy stalemate between the EU, many of whose members have depended on Russian natural gas supplies for years, and Moscow.
The damage makes it unlikely the pipelines will be able to deliver gas to Europe this winter, analysts say.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military and a Washington-based think tank said Wednesday that Russia was sending troops without any training to the frontline.
Moscow has struggled to hold the line in the face of Ukraine’s recent counter-offensive and has ordered a partial mobilization to replenish its ranks. The effort, however, causes unrest, amidst a reluctant audience.
During a daily briefing, the Ukrainian army general staff said that the 1st tank regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division of the 1st Russian tank army received new untrained troops.
The Ukrainian military also said convicts were arriving in Ukraine to reinforce Russian lines. He offered no evidence to support this claim, although Ukraine’s security services released audio recordings of allegedly monitored Russian phone conversations on the matter.
The Institute for the Study of Warfare think tank cited an online video of a man who identified himself as a member of the 1st Tank Regiment, visibly upset, saying he and his colleagues would not receive no training before being shipped to the Russian occupation. Kherson region in Ukraine.
“Mobilized men with a day or two of training are unlikely to significantly reinforce Russian positions affected by Ukrainian counteroffensives in the south and east,” the institute said.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Ukraine’s counter-offensive, which inflicted humiliating defeats on Moscow’s forces, is progressing slowly.
He said Russia is now building a stronger defense.
In the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, partially occupied by Moscow, Russian fire has killed five people and injured 10 others in the past 24 hours, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the local military authority.
Authorities in the southern Ukrainian town of Nikopol said Russian rockets and artillery pounded the town overnight.
The city, across the Dnipro River from Russian-occupied territory, saw 10 skyscrapers and private buildings hit, along with a school, power lines and other areas, Valentyn Reznichenko said. head of the local military administration.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
This story was originally published September 28, 2022 03:52.