White House warns Russia planning to annex parts of southern Ukraine

The White House has warned that Russia is beginning to realize its plans to annex large parts of southern Ukraine by installing proxy officials and preparing for a phase-out referendum.

John Kirby, head of strategic communications at the U.S. National Security Council, said Tuesday that Moscow Began laying the foundations for its annexation plans, which are widely expected since its troops began gaining control of the area.

Kirby told reporters at the White House: “Russia is starting to distribute a version of what might be called an annexation book – very similar to the one we saw in 2014,” referring to a time when the Kremlin sent special forces into the Crimea to occupy territories before a carefully controlled referendum on sovereignty.

“Russia is already installing illegitimate proxy officials in the areas of Ukraine “We are in control of it, and we know their next moves,” he added.

Kirby said the Kremlin has detailed plans to annex the cities of Kherson and Zaporizhia, as well as all of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He said Russia was trying to set up branches of Russian banks in the region, taking over broadcast towers, setting up security services loyal to Moscow, issuing Russian passports and forcing residents to apply for Russian citizenship.

Kirby noted that most other states do not recognize the Kremlin’s previous annexation to Crimea.

Senior Russian officials have previously indicated that they plan to hold elections in the territories they have occupied over whether those territories should become part of Russia. In May, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Told reporters “Kherson residents need to decide” whether to be part of Russia.

Kirby warned that if Russia promoted its plans, it would become an “even more fertile world” and face further international sanctions – though he did not specify.

White House warns Russia planning to annex parts of southern Ukraine Source link White House warns Russia planning to annex parts of southern Ukraine

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