Russia announces ‘results’ of its mock referendums in Ukraine, while Coveney joins the EU in condemning illegal annexation plans

The European Union’s top diplomat lashed out at Russia on Wednesday for holding “illegal” referendums on annexation in the occupied territories of Ukraine, denouncing their “falsified result”.

Russian occupying forces in four areas have all declared landslide victories.

In a message published on Twitter, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said: “This is another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid systematic human rights abuses.

“We commend the courage of Ukrainians who continue to oppose and resist the Russian invasion.”

Russian-installed officials in the occupied territories of Ukraine said Wednesday they would ask President Vladimir Putin to incorporate the territories into Russia.

Pro-Moscow officials in the eastern Luhansk region and the partially occupied southern Zaporizhia region said they would make the request later on Wednesday, while officials in the neighboring Kherson region said they would do so “in the coming days”.

Russian officials in the Donetsk region, much of which is still under Ukrainian control, are expected to follow suit.
Pro-Moscow governments of all four occupied regions of Ukraine said Tuesday night that their residents voted to join Russia.

Western officials have dismissed the referendums as illegal, but Putin is likely to use them to declare the four regions’ annexation.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney joined the condemnation.

“Ireland rejects the sham referendums just held by Russia and its proxies in occupied Ukrainian territory,” he said in a statement.

“These referendums are both illegal and illegitimate.

“They are illegal because they violate the UN Charter and Russia’s obligations under international law, including the law of occupation. They also ignore Ukraine’s Constitution, which provides a legal basis for any referendum that would affect Ukraine’s territorial borders.

“They are illegitimate because they do not reflect the popular or freely expressed will of the Ukrainian people. Over 1 million people from these occupied territories were resettled in Russia as a result of the Russian military invasion, including through forced deportation; and more than 7 million people have been displaced within Ukraine as a result of this war.

“Ireland will never recognize Russian claims to illegally annexed parts of Ukraine and will remain steadfast in its support for the people of Ukraine.”

The European Union’s top diplomat says the bloc suspects the damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and warns of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s energy grids.

Mr Borell said today: “All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act.”

He added that any deliberate disruption to Europe’s energy infrastructure “is totally unacceptable and will be met with a robust and unified response.”

Seismologists reported on Tuesday that explosions rocked the Baltic Sea before unusual leaks were discovered at two undersea natural gas pipelines that run from Russia to Germany.

Three leaks were reported in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. They currently do not ship fuel to Europe.

Meanwhile, men mobilized to reinforce Russian lines in Ukraine appear not to receive military training, a Washington-based think tank and the Ukrainian military have said.

The Institute for the Study of War cited an online video of a man visibly upset as a member of 1 Cherson in Ukraine.

“Mobilized men with a day or two of training are unlikely to meaningfully reinforce Russian positions hit by Ukrainian counter-offensives in the south and east,” the institute said.

In a daily briefing, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military also said that the 1st Armored Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Armored Army received new troops without any training.

The Ukrainian military also claimed prisoners were arriving in Ukraine to reinforce Russian lines. It offered no evidence for the claim.

Authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Nikopol say Russian rockets and artillery hit the city overnight.

In the city across the Dnieper from Russian-held territory, ten high-rise buildings and private buildings were hit, as well as a school, power lines and other areas, said Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the local military administration.

He said no immediate casualties from the attacks had been reported.

In the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, which is partially occupied by Moscow, five people have been killed and ten others injured by Russian fire in the past 24 hours, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the local military agency.

He said four people died in Kurakhovo and one person in Bakhmut from the attacks.

British military says Ukraine’s progress near Lyman’s eastern hub has been slower than before.

“Units are making slow advance on at least two axes east of the line of the Oskil and Siverskyy Donets rivers, where forces had consolidated after their previous advance earlier this month,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence briefing on Wednesday.

“Russia is building a more substantial defense than before, likely because the Ukrainian advance is now threatening parts of Luhansk… while the referendum vote on joining the Russian Federation ends.”

The British added that fighting around Kherson in southern Ukraine remained intense as the Russian military was “vulnerable” on the eastern banks of the Dnipro River.

“Russia continues its grueling attempts to advance near Bakhmut in the Donbass, even as it faces heavy pressure on its northern and southern flanks,” the British said. “This is likely due to political pressure as Russia deploys forces that could otherwise reinforce the other flanks.” Russia announces ‘results’ of its mock referendums in Ukraine, while Coveney joins the EU in condemning illegal annexation plans

Fry Electronics Team

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