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US asks UN Security Council to condemn Russia for ‘sham’ referendums in Ukraine

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The United States will introduce a resolution at the United Nations Security Council condemning referendums held by Russia in occupied regions of Ukraine, the US Ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday.

The resolution, to be introduced jointly with Albania, will call on member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and also obligate Russia to withdraw its troops, envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

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“Russia’s sham referenda, if accepted, will open a pandora’s box that we cannot close,” she said at a council meeting.

The United States is working quickly on the resolution, a US official said, providing no details on when it would officially be introduced.

The Russian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russia has the ability to veto a resolution, but Thomas-Greenfield said: “If Russia chooses to shield itself from accountability here in the Council, we will then look to the UN General Assembly to send an unmistakable message to Moscow.”

The council, which has met over 20 times on Ukraine this year, has been unable to take meaningful action because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the United States, France, Britain and China.

Russian-installed officials in four occupied regions of Ukraine reported huge majorities on Tuesday in favor of becoming part of Russia after five days of voting.

Ukraine urged the European Union to impose new punitive sanctions on Russia in response to the voting, which it said was carried out at gunpoint in many cases.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Security Council that the results were pre-determined as he called for Russia to be excluded from all international organizations and for new sanctions against Moscow.

“Russia’s recognition of these sham referendums as normal, the implementation of the so-called Crimean scenario and another attempt to annex Ukrainian territory will mean that there is nothing to talk about with the president of Russia,” Zelenskyy said in virtual remarks. Russian annexed the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

Russia complained at the start of the meeting that Zelenskyy should not be allowed to speak via video link, citing UN rules.

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