The ongoing referenda in the Russian-occupied regions and the Russian mobilization in those areas are crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night address.
They are “not just crimes against international law and the laws of Ukraine. These are crimes against specific people, against the nation,” he said.
Four Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine began voting in referendums to join Russia, according to their separatist leaders, in a move that is raising the stakes on the invasion of Moscow seven months after the fighting started.
“The world will react absolutely fairly to the pseudo-referenda – they will be unequivocally condemned, as well as the criminal mobilization that the occupiers are trying to carry out in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine that they still control,” Zelensky added. .
The Ukrainian president urged people in the Russian-led areas to help weaken the occupation.
“When you get into the Russian army, sabotage any enemy activity, interfere in Russian operations, give us all the important information about the occupiers – their bases, headquarters, ammunition depots. And join our positions at the first opportunity. save lives and help liberate Ukraine,” he added.
Counter Offensive: Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops have recaptured about 9,000 square kilometers of territory “since the beginning of active actions in the east of our country,” Zelensky said.
“Almost 400 settlements have been liberated. This tangible result has been achieved thanks to the help of our people in the temporarily occupied territory. Do everything you can to increase this aid,” Zelensky added.