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Ukraine war latest news: West condemns Russia’s plans for votes in occupied Ukraine


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Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly due to address the nation in the coming moments, and Western leaders are already condemning reports that he will announce annexation referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine.

“Sham referendums have no legitimacy,” tweeted Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “and do not change the nature of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Strong words, too, from the White House.

“If this does transpire, the United States will never recognise Russia’s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine.”

This is a moment many have been anticipating for months: when Russia orchestrates referendums in parts of Ukraine under its control, in order to pave the way for some kind of escalation in the war it launched on 24 February.

If, as expected, the four occupied regions of Ukraine vote to become part of Russia, that could allow Vladimir Putin to tell his people that his “special military operation” is now a fully-fledged, existential conflict: a war.

A long-awaited military mobilisation, something the Kremlin has so far avoided, could follow.





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