UN does not consider Russian referendums held in Ukraine to be “an expression of popular will”

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The UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, has assured this Tuesday before the UN Security Council that the referendums held in eastern Ukraine by Russia “cannot be called a genuine expression of the popular will”.

“Unilateral actions aimed at providing a semblance of legitimacy to the attempted takeover (…) of another state by a state (…) cannot be considered legal under international law,” DiCarlo said, according to a statement released by the UN Secretariat for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

DiCarlo has assured that voters have participated in the referendum after Russian authorities in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporiyia regions have escorted them at gunpoint to polling stations.

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Such exercises, which have been carried out during an “active armed conflict” in areas of Ukraine under Russian control and “outside the legal and constitutional framework of Ukraine, cannot be called a genuine expression of the people’s will,” the undersecretary has stressed.

All in all, DiCarlo has reproached Russia for its “inconsistent” rhetoric in relation to the declaration on the prevention of a nuclear war of the five states signed last January 3, 2022.

“Let me reiterate the appeal of the secretary general (António Guterres) to all nuclear-armed states, including.
Russia, to recommit themselves to the non-use and progressive elimination of nuclear weapons,” he said.

In this regard, he has qualified that the UN remains “deeply concerned” about reports of continued attacks near the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant, and has urged the fighters to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

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“It is imperative that all attacks on nuclear facilities end and that the purely civilian character of such plants be restored,” DiCarlo has stressed.

The results released Tuesday by Russia’s Electoral Commission on the referendums, with the recounts already completed in most cases, show overwhelming support in all four territories, especially in Donetsk, where 98.7 percent is reached, TASS news agency reported.

In Lugansk, the ‘yes’ vote was 97.93 percent; in Zaporiyia, 97.81 percent; while the Kherson region received the least support for accession to Russia, although the votes in favor were notably higher, with 96.75 percent.

The Ukrainian authorities and Western governments do not grant any validity to the referendums, while Moscow intends to use them to legitimize its occupation, as it did in 2014 with the Crimean peninsula. The Kremlin has already made it clear that the hypothetical annexation of the four territories would be swift.

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