Blinken says Moscow has ‘bused up the Russians’ to vote in sham referendums

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Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken said Thursday that Moscow has “mobilized” Russian citizens to vote in illegal referendums it plans to hold in several Ukrainian regions this week.

“Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian territory are another dangerous escalation as well as a rejection of diplomacy,” Blinkin said in a speech to the UN Security Council.

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Blinkin described Russia’s strategy of not only annexing the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions, but the “purification” operations that resulted in forced deportations, reports of torture and the displacement of millions as a “diabolical strategy.”

A military vehicle drives along a street with a plaque reading “With Russia Forever, September 27” before the referendum in Luhansk, Luhansk People’s Republic controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, September 22, 2022.
(AP Photo)

“Thousands of Ukrainians were violently uprooted. Buses in the Russians to replace them. A call to vote. The results were rigged to show near-mass support for joining the Russian Federation,” he said. “This is true from the playbook of the Crimea.”

Blinken’s comments were in reference to the 2014 occupation and subsequent elections that Western officials denounced as fraudulent after Russia claimed that 97 percent of “Crimean” voters supported joining Russia.

Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a destroyed house near the frontline village of Krymsky in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region, Saturday, February 19, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a destroyed house near the frontline village of Krymsky in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Saturday, February 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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Election reports later showed that only 30 percent of Crimeans voted in the referendum and only 15 percent of those who participated in the elections supported its annexation.

The minister stressed that the United States will not recognize any results from the Russian “elections” in Ukraine.

“It is imperative that every member of this council and every member of the United Nations reject the sham referendums and unequivocally declare that all Ukrainian territory is and will remain part of Ukraine,” Blinken said. “No Russian territorial claim can take away Ukraine’s right to defend its territory.”

Soldiers of the Ukrainian military wait for the bombing in a shelter at a site in Luhansk region on March 5, 2022.

Soldiers of the Ukrainian military wait for the bombing in a shelter at a site in Luhansk region on March 5, 2022.
(Anatoly Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

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The majority of permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have called on Russia to end its presence in Ukraine.

China is the only member, with the exception of Russia which is also a permanent member of the council, has condemned the war and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces and stop all escalation language – including nuclear threat rhetoric.

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