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

A Russian serviceman stands guard next to a group of foreign journalists in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Donetsk region
A Russian serviceman stands guard subsequent to a bunch of international journalists in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Donetsk area © AP

Washington believes Russia is making ready to annex giant swaths of southern and jap Ukraine, a senior US diplomat mentioned Monday.

“We believe that Russia will try to annex the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic into so-called Russia,” mentioned Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

He added that the US has studies indicating that “Russia has plans to engineer referenda on joining Russia sometime in mid-May and that Moscow is considering a similar plan for Kherson,” in techniques he described as “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook”.

Russia had beforehand staged independence referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014. The US assessed that it has comparable plans for the Ukrainian metropolis of Kherson, which Russia occupied in early March, Carpenter mentioned.

“Just as Russia engineered these quasi statelets, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, now, we believe that the Kremlin may be trying to organise a Kherson People’s Republic in the Kherson Oblast of southern Ukraine,” he mentioned.

Carpenter declined to supply extra particulars concerning the studies, citing the US want to guard sources and strategies, however he mentioned they had been “highly credible”.

The US and its companions wouldn’t think about such referenda or makes an attempt to annex Ukrainian territory as reputable, he mentioned.

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