Russia “prepares the ground” to annex new Ukrainian territories, warns the White House | World | New
As Russian forces attempt to maintain control of occupied regions of Ukraine while taking more areas, the Kremlin is appointing illegitimate proxies to Russian-held regions. In many regions Ukrainian citizens are forced to apply for Russian passports and citizenship and tuition is provided in Russian alongside the use of the rouble.
National Security Council chief spokesman John Kirby told the White House during a press briefing that Russia was installing these officials, attempting to introduce the ruble as the default currency and forcing Ukrainians to apply for Russian citizenship.
Mr Kirby said: “We have information today, including declassified intelligence that we are able to share with you, on how Russia is preparing the ground to annex Ukrainian territory which it controls in violation direct from the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
He said Russia was trying to obstruct civilian internet access and “trying to fix the conditions on the ground by seeking to establish branches of Russian banks to establish the ruble as the default currency.”
The National Security Council spokesman said the tactics employed by Russia were those used earlier in the annexation of Crimea.
Crimea was annexed when Russia took it from Ukraine in what is still considered an illegitimate annexation by the international community.
Mr Kirby said: “We want this to be clear to the American people. No one is fooled.
“[Vladimir Putin] is dusting off the 2014 playbook.”
He added: “Russia is starting to roll out a version of what you might call an annexation playbook, very similar to the one we saw in 2014.”
According to Kirby, there is “ample evidence in intelligence and in the public domain” of the Kremlin’s intentions and actions.
He added that Moscow is “already considering detailed plans to allegedly annex a number of regions of Ukraine” such as Donetsk and Luhansk amid heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.
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He said: “We know their next moves: first these proxy officials will hold mock referendums on joining Russia, then Russia will use these mock referendums as a basis to try to claim the annexation of Ukrainian territory. sovereign.
During the same briefing, Mr Kirby confirmed a new arms package to be sent to Ukraine to support it in its fight with Russia which is currently concentrated in the east of the country.
The United States continues to take a defiant stance against Putin, alongside other Western allies.
Mr. Kirby concluded his speech by saying, “Annexation by force will be a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, and we will not allow it to go unchallenged or unpunished.
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“We will also continue to expose Russian plans so the world knows that any alleged annexation is premeditated, illegal and illegitimate…and we sanction Russian puppets and proxies installed in areas of Ukraine that are under Russian control. “
He continued: “If Russia nevertheless proceeds with its annexation plans, we will react quickly and harshly and in close cooperation with our allies and partners.
“Russia will face additional sanctions and become even more of a global pariah than it is now.
“We will never recognize any allegedly annexed territory belonging to Russia.”