Lipavský: “Czechia Will Never Recognize Results of Referendums in Eastern Ukraine”

The Czech Republic will never agree to recognize the results of referendums held at liberated territories of Ukraine, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský wrote on Twitter.

“The referendums were an obvious attempt to annex more Ukrainian territory as happened in the case of Crimea. They constituted a flagrant violation of international law for which Moscow must be held accountable,” added Lipavský.

Kyiv’s Western allies were swift to condemn the announced referendums. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called them “sham” votes, while French President Emmanuel Macron described them as a “travesty”.

The United States said they were “an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity” and that Washington would never recognize Russian claims to annexed Ukrainian territory.

The planned annexation referendums have been prepared for months and come as Ukrainian forces have made notable gains in the northeastern Kharkiv region and in the east.

The votes follow the model of the 2014 referendum by which Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula in southern Ukraine, which Kyiv and the West refused to recognize.

Putin calls up reservists

President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilization and vowed on Wednesday to use “all available means” to protect Russian territory, after Moscow-held regions of Ukraine suddenly announced annexation referendums.

In a pre-recorded address to the nation early on Wednesday, Putin accused the West of trying to “destroy” his country through its backing of Kyiv, and said Russia needed to support those in Ukraine who wanted to “determine their own future”.

The Russian leader announced a partial military mobilization, with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu telling state television that some 300,000 reservists would be called up.

‘Not a bluff’

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can also turn in their direction,” Putin added.

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Putin said that through its support for Ukraine the West was trying to “weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country”, while Shoigu said Moscow was “fighting not so much Ukraine as the collective West” in Ukraine.

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