Sanctions, if agreed, could also affect those monitoring Russian membership votes in Zaporozhye and Kherson regions
The EU will impose sanctions on anyone involved in the referendums on joining Russia in the Donbas republics, as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, according to Peter Stano, spokesman for the foreign policy chief of the block, Josep Borrell.
“There would be consequences for everyone who participates in illegal and illegitimate referendums,” Stano warned Tuesday, the fifth and final day of voting.
Stano did not rule out the possibility that foreign observers, including EU citizens, also faced restrictions on any support they gave to the process. He said it would be up to member states to decide who falls under the sanctions regime.
Another senior EU foreign policy official, Luc Devigne, also told EU lawmakers on Tuesday that people who “obviously related” referendums would be targeted in the next sanctions package.
Residents of France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Brazil and other countries are said to have arrived to monitor the vote in the People’s Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR), and in the regions of Zaporozhye and of Kherson, which are mainly controlled by Russian forces. .
Ukraine and its Western supporters have called the referendums a “fake,” swearing that they will not recognize their results regardless of the outcome. Plebiscite polling stations closed at 4 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on Tuesday. LPR chief Leonid Pasechnik said preliminary results would be ready tonight.
Russia sent its troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk Accords, intended to give the Donetsk and Lugansk regions 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 and “to create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.
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