US, UK officials slam Russia's ‘utter contempt’ for the United Nations
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said the US will 'never recognize' Russia's plans to hold referenda in parts of Ukraine.
"Let me be very clear if these referenda proceed and if Russia purports to annex Ukrainian territory, the United States will never, never recognize it," Blinken said alongside British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations summit, Blinken added that the actions by Russian President Vladimir Putin show his "utter contempt and disdain for the United Nations".
Cleverly echoed similar remarks afterwards and encouraged other countries to call out Putin's "aggressive actions" against the people of Ukraine.
Russian-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions on Tuesday set out plans for referendums on joining Russia, a challenge to the West that could sharply escalate the war and sparked condemnation from Ukraine and its allies.
In the apparently coordinated move, pro-Russian figures announced referendums for Sept. 23-27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory, or an area about the size of Hungary.
Russia already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up the Donbas region Moscow partially occupied in 2014, to be independent states. Ukraine and the West consider all parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.