Ukraine: Biden promises “quick and tough” sanctions in case of Russian annexation
Joe Biden has assured that the United States and its allies will impose new economic sanctions “swiftly and severely on Russia” if it annexes territories in Ukraine amid “referendums” that continue on Saturday.
“Russia’s referendums are a farce, a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force,” criticized the US President on Friday evening.
Earlier, in a joint statement, the G7 countries (Germany, Canada, USA, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) “called on all countries to unequivocally reject these fictitious referendums”, “Simulacra”, which “have no legal effect yet.” Legitimacy”.
Without going so far as to denounce the polls, China, Moscow’s closest partner, nevertheless went there with its criticism and called for respect for the “territorial integrity of all countries”.
Russia has started voting in its “referendums” on the annexation of Ukrainian regions it controls in whole or in part. The voting, which began at 05:00 GMT on Friday, will end on September 27 in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (east) and the Russian-held areas in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions (south).
Hundreds of polling stations should be opened in the four territories and more in Russia for displaced people to vote.
In Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, the authorities organized demonstrations in support of the votes, with large reinforcements of flags and slogans.
“These referendums are a step towards that peace,” said Viktor Suvorov, 40, who was present at the rally in Moscow, a stone’s throw from Red Square.
In Ukraine, in Chevchenkové, Ukrainian official Andriï Kanachevitch protested to AFP against “illegal” elections. “That’s nonsense,” he said.
– “Traces of torture” in Izioum –
On the UN side, a commission of inquiry has acknowledged that “war crimes were committed in Ukraine”, referring in particular to Russian bombing of civilian areas, executions, torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence.
Ukraine has also announced that it has exhumed 447 bodies from a mass grave site in Izium, a northeastern town retaken from the Russians, including 30 with “signs of torture” such as bound hands, broken limbs or “amputated genitals”.
On the diplomatic side, Iran is in the crosshairs of Ukrainian authorities, who blame it for its arms supplies to Moscow and specifically drones that killed one in a Russian attack on the port of Odessa on Friday.
Kyiv criticized “hostile” behavior and decided to revoke the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador to Ukraine and to “significantly reduce” the staff of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv.
On the ground, Ukraine on Friday demanded the capture of Yatskivka in the Donetsk region (east). She also says she advanced south of Bakhmout, a location to the east that the Russian army has been trying unsuccessfully to capture for months.
On the side of the separatists, Donetsk boss Denis Pushilin spoke of an “extremely difficult” situation north of his city.
In the Lugansk region, another Separatist official, Andrei Marochko, reported on Ukrainian bombing and noted that the Kyiv forces “want to do everything to wreck the referendum.”
The hasty announcement of these elections was accompanied on Wednesday by Vladimir Putin’s immediate mobilization of at least 300,000 reservists. The Russian President also threatened to use Russia’s entire arsenal, including nuclear weapons.
– Mobilization of Russian reservists –
This mobilization continued in Russia, where the Kremlin sought to parade the advances of the Ukrainian army, which, bolstered by deliveries of Western weapons, on Friday demanded new territorial advances.
On this subject, Zelenskyy called on all Ukrainians staying in the Russian-held territories to “hide in order to avoid Russian mobilization” and, if they cannot escape, “to sabotage any enemy activity”. .
While television broadcast almost no images of the mobilization, several videos on social media showed closed-faced men boarding buses after kissing loved ones, some in tears.
Reached by AFP, Konstantin, 29, said he received his subpoena at his parents’ home. “I’m still in shock,” he said. “I’m not going to hide, but I’m not jumping for joy either.”
Others received a subpoena after being arrested during anti-mobilization demonstrations on Wednesday.
“I expected the usual (procedures): the arrest, the police station, the court. But to be told: + Tomorrow you’re going to war + (…) that was a surprise,” said Mikhail Suetin, 29, of AFP, who refused to sign the document.
The announcement of the mobilization also prompted many Russians to leave the country, leading to an influx at the borders, without the extent of the phenomenon being able to be quantified.
Finland has decided to take measures to “significantly” limit the entry of Russian citizens on its soil, while the Baltic countries and Poland have been drastically restricting entry for weeks.
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