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Czech foreign minister: Russia’s imperialism must be stopped at Ukraine’s borders

Russia’s plan to annex more of Ukraine on Friday, following sham referendums in the occupied eastern regions of the country, have drawn widespread condemnation from Western democracies. Czechia, which currently holds the EU presidency, has slammed the move as “an unacceptable farce“.

President Putin’s decision to annex four regions of Ukraine to Russia were officially announced by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He said Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, where sham referendums were held in recent days to help sanction the process, would sign treaties stating their will to join Russia on Friday.

The move –which is along the same lines as the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, had drawn widespread condemnation.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters in New York that Russia’s annexation would violate the U.N. Charter and has “no legal value.” French President Emmanuel Macron has described Russia’s actions as a “travesty”, while US President Biden slammed them as “an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said that Moscow’s actions were “a farce”, stressing that the annexations would not be recognized.

“This is absolutely unacceptable. It is a farce. Putin can organize this theatrical performance for the world, but it has no legitimacy and it cannot lead to a change in Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.”

Lipavský said the referendums were an obvious attempt to annex more Ukrainian territory as happened in the case of Crimea and in the eyes of the free world they would remain Ukrainian territory, which the country was fully entitled to defend. He said the EU was preparing more sanctions against Russia and would continue in its support for as long as necessary.

“This is a brutal, barbaric war against Ukraine and we must help the country to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, we must put more pressure on Russia to make Putin stop this war as soon as possible. We do not want it to spill over into Central Europe. Russia’s imperialism must be stopped at Ukraine’s borders.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council and once again reiterated his country’s determination to recapture all of Ukraine’s territory –including Crimea. Russia counters that it will defend the newly annexed regions by all available means, including nuclear weapons, should the need arise.

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