Russia is likely to announce one or more “illegal” referendums in occupied areas as early as this week in a bid to justify an annexation of Ukrainian territory, as per White House spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
Kirby, who is a spokesman for national security matters, said, “We have information that Russia is continuing to prepare a mock referendum” in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and in Kharkiv.
He added, “The Russian administration has given instructions to prepare for these referendums. Indeed, we expect a Russian announcement about the first referendum about the first referendum simulations before the end of the week.”
He has further alerted that, “The US and the international community have been very clear: any attempt to bring any Ukrainian territory under Russian control will be considered illegal.”
Kirby added, “The United States expects Russia to manipulate the results of the referendums to make it look as if the Ukrainian people want to join Russia. Quite simply, its wrong.”
He has further referred to polls in recent months among the Ukrainian population in areas controlled by Kyiv that have shown that more than 90% of Ukrainians do not belong to Russia.
President of the United States, Joe Biden, who has announced a new tranche of military aid worth $3 billion for Ukraine on Wednesday, is scheduled to have a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday.