After the spread of rumours, a warning to Russia

The leaders sent their video appeals to the participants of the Crimean Platform conference in Kyiv. The president of Ukraine took part in the conference Volodymyr Zelensky and his Polish colleague Andrzej Duda.

The Crimean peninsula was seized and illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, after holding an illegal referendum.

According to A. Duda, the West’s moderate reaction to the annexation is tantamount to “condescension” to Russia. He added that Western relations with Moscow can no longer be as if nothing had happened.

The annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a “clear deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation on the peninsula,” the French president said Emmanuel Macron. He promised EU support for Ukraine “for a long time”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the conference that since February, Moscow has been using Crimea as a springboard for attacks on Ukraine and “a testing ground for the brutal methods that Russia is now using in other occupied parts of Ukraine.”

“Putin plans to do to parts of Ukraine – indeed, even to all of Ukraine – what he did to Crimea,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“He’s planning more annexations and sham referendums, so it’s never been more important to be together,” added the UK government leader.

In the occupied territories, the Kremlin is conducting a Russification campaign, during which passports are issued to residents.

Kyiv also fears that Moscow may try to organize referendums in territories occupied during the war.

In the Russian-occupied parts of Zaporizhia, government officials appointed by Moscow announced in early August that they planned to hold a referendum.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Western leaders “condemn Russia’s attempts to forcibly integrate parts of Ukrainian territory. Any fake referendums or other attempts to change the status of parts of the territory of Ukraine will never be recognized.

“Such steps prevent any negotiations,” said O. Scholz.

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