G7 leaders condemn ‘mock’ referendums in occupied Ukraine – POLITICO

G7 leaders have condemned the “bogus” Russian referendums held in occupied Ukraine as a “false” pretext to illegally seize territory.

In a statement on Friday evening, the group of wealthier nations said the votes organized by Moscow violated the United Nations Charter and international law and had no legitimacy.

Russia began asking residents of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions on Friday if they wanted to join Russia, in a bid to formalize the annexation of the four areas. The so-called referendums will take place over five days.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have denounced the “blatant intimidation of local populations” by Russia, who “constantly resisted Russian efforts to change borders by force”. According to the media, armed soldiers went door to door to collect votes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday denounced the votes initiated by Moscow as a “farce”. He also asked residents of occupied regions to hide from the Russian mobilization “by all means”, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week that 300,000 reservists would be called up.

The referendums come as the UN said on Friday that Russia had committed war crimes in Ukraine, including bombing civilian areas, summary executions, torture and sexual violence, including against children. Investigators visited 27 Ukrainian towns and settlements and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses, he added.


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