Biden, EU slam Putin’s annexation of Ukrainian territory
(Update 1: Adds US response, writes-through, alters lede, headline)
Washington/Brussels, Sep 30 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden on Friday slammed Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions as his country drew up fresh sanctions while leaders of the European Union vowed to “never recognize” the Kremlin’s escalatory announcement.
Condemnation from Western nations poured in after Vladimir Putin presided over a nationalistic ceremony at the Kremlin, where he pronounced the partially occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be parts of the Russian Federation.
“The United States condemns Russia’s fraudulent attempt today to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory,” Biden said in a White House statement.
“Russia is violating international law, trampling on the United Nations Charter, and showing its contempt for peaceful nations everywhere.
He reiterated that Putin’s actions had “no legitimacy.”
“We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically, including through the $1.1 billion in additional security assistance the United States announced this week,” Biden said, adding that Congress was preparing to provide a further $12 billion in support for Ukraine.
Responding swiftly to announcements in Moscow, EU leaders released a firm statement rejecting the “illegal” annexation as well as the referendums Russia used as a pretext to absorb Ukrainian land.
“We firmly reject and unequivocally condemn the illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions,” the statement read.
“These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever. Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine. We call on all States and international organizations to unequivocally reject this illegal annexation.”
The leaders said Russia was “putting global security at risk” by flouting rules-based international order and violating Ukraine’s rights to “independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The EU would stand “resolutely” with Ukraine, which is exercising its “legitimate right to defend itself against Russian aggression.”
“The nuclear threats made by the Kremlin, the military mobilization and the strategy of seeking to falsely present Ukraine’s territory as Russia’s and purporting that the war may now be taking place on Russia’s territory will not shake our resolve.”
“We will strengthen our restrictive measures countering Russia’s illegal actions. They will further increase pressure on Russia to end its war of aggression,” the statement continued.
Putin’s decision to annex the four regions, which are partially controlled by Russia’s invading forces and separatist allies, marks a severe escalation in the conflict. EFE