The United States “will work with its allies and partners to impose additional swift and serious economic costs on Russia” if it annexes territory in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden warned in a press statement on Friday.
The White House issued the statement as Russia began organising “referenda” in parts of the Ukraine that it occupies namely Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. The referenda, which are scheduled to continue for four days, are widely seen as a prelude to the annexation of the territories on the heels of recent military gains by Ukraine.
“Russia’s referendums are a sham, a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter,” said the US president, who government has already imposed economic and financial sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Biden stated that, “The United States stands with our partners around the world- and with every nation that respects the core tenets of the UN charter- in rejecting whatever fabricated outcomes Russia will announce. We will continue to support the Ukrainian people and provide them with security assistance to help them defend themselves as they courageously resist Russia’s invasion.”
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the rest of the world to condemn the “pseudo-referendums.” In his daily address to the nation, Zelensky said he was convinced that “the world will react with the greatest justice to the pseudo-referendums” and that these “will be unequivocally condemned.”
Zelenskyy stated that, “These are not just crimes against international law and Ukrainian law, these are crimes against specific people, against a nation.”