If Russia efficiently annexes occupied territories of Ukraine it might spell the top of diplomatic negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky informed CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Driving the information: 4 Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — are holding referendums from Friday by means of Tuesday on whether or not to affix Russia.
- Denounced by Ukrainian and Western leaders as a “sham,” the referendums may result in the annexation of practically 15% of Ukraine.
- Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov vowed on Saturday that Russia will lengthen “full safety” to the 4 areas if they’re annexed.
What they’re saying: Zelensky stated that the referendum may “result in very tragic moments” and that Ukrainians “who do not come to referendum, , Russians can flip off their electrical energy and will not give them a possibility to reside a standard human life.”
- “They drive folks, they throw them in prisons. They drive them to come back to those pseudo-referenda. And likewise, in addition they introduced mobilization. They’re forcing folks to struggle, folks from the briefly occupied territories.”
- If Russia succeeds with the referendums — for which the ballots have “been already ready” — it’s going to “make it not possible, in any case, to proceed any diplomatic negotiations with the President of [the] Russian Federation, and he is aware of it very effectively,” Zelensky stated, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- “I believe it is a very harmful sign from President Putin that tells us that Putin will not be going to complete this warfare.”
The referendums additionally danger bringing the West into direct battle with Russia, which the U.S. and its allies have so far sought to keep away from.
- They provide Putin the power to say, “it is our territory. Look, we performed referenda. Now, it is the West who assaults Russia. Now, the West assaults our territories,” Zelensky stated.
State of play: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal denounced the referendums as meaningless throughout an look on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
- “It means nothing. Not for Ukraine, not for [the] civilized world,” Shmyhal informed host Chuck Todd.
- He added that he believed no nations would acknowledge the outcomes of the referendums “as a result of that is occupation of our territories and no referendums may very well be held there in a standard, civilized method.”
Shmyhal, who additionally dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin a “terrorist” in the course of the interview, added that Russia would wish to “go away our territories” as a precondition for any diplomatic decision to the warfare.
- He additional clarified that this would come with Crimea, echoing a sentiment expressed by Zelensky final month that the warfare should finish with Ukraine regaining the territory Russia annexed in 2014.
- “We should always have all our territories within the borders of 1991 that are internationally acknowledged,” Shmyhal stated.