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Live news: Russia plans to annex swaths of southern and eastern Ukraine, says US

A Russian service man standing guard next to a group of foreign journalists in the occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine © AP

Washington believes Russia is preparing to annex large parts of southern and eastern Ukraine, a senior U.S. diplomat said Monday.

“We believe that Russia will try to annex the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk to what is called Russia,” said Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

He added that the U.S. has reports indicating that “Russia has plans to engineer a referendum upon joining Russia sometime in mid-May and that Moscow is considering a similar plan for Kherson,” in a tactic he described as “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook.”

Russia previously held referendums for independence in Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014. The U.S. estimated that it had similar plans for the Ukrainian city of Kherson, which Russia occupied in early March, Carpenter said.

“Just as Russia has engineered these imaginary countries, the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk, now, we believe that the Kremlin may be trying to organize a Kherson People’s Republic in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine,” he said.

Carpenter declined to give further details about the reports, citing the American desire to protect sources and methods, but said they were “extremely credible”.

The US and its partners will not see such wishes or attempts to annex Ukrainian territory as legitimate, he said.

Live news: Russia plans to annex swaths of southern and eastern Ukraine, says US Source link Live news: Russia plans to annex swaths of southern and eastern Ukraine, says US

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