Live: Western leaders denounce Russia’s ‘sham’ referendums

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Issued on: 21/09/2022 – 07:41

World leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York condemned plans by authorities in pro-Moscow regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia. A US official warned of “increased consequences” if Russia were to annex parts of Ukraine. Follow the day’s events on our liveblog. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


02:52am: German Chancellor at UN: Putin must recognize he cannot win in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognizes he cannot win the war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,” Scholz said.

The return of imperialism, with Putin’s war on Ukraine, was not just a disaster for Europe but for the global, rules-based peace order, the chancellor said. He called on the UN to defend this from those who would prefer a world where the “strong rule the weak”.

02:24am: Japanese prime minister slams Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during UN address

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as destabilising the international order to its core and said the rule of law, not coercion by power, should prevail.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,” Kishida said.

Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima, the first city to ever suffer an atomic bombing, also denounced the threat of nuclear weapons by Russia.

01:33am: US official warns of ‘increased consequences’ if Russia were to annex parts of Ukraine

There will be increased consequences if Russia were to annex parts of Ukraine, a senior US State Department official said on Tuesday, as Moscow-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions planned to hold referendums on joining Russia.

“We have made clear that there will be increased consequences. We have … a number of tools,” the official said.

>> Russian invasion of Ukraine a return to ‘age of imperialism’, Macron tells UN

00:30am: Zelensky hails Western support against Russia’s planned referendums

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Western allies for their condemnation of plans by authorities in pro-Moscow regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia

“I thank all the friends and partners of Ukraine for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia’s intentions to organise yet more pseudo-referendums,” he said in his daily address.

00:15am: Africa Union leader warns of pressure to choose sides in Ukraine

African Union chairperson Macky Sall said Tuesday that Africa “does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War”, alluding to the pressure mounting on the continent’s leaders to choose sides over the war in Ukraine.

Many African countries depend heavily on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine. Amid market shortages, Russia’s foreign minister has sought to portray the West as the villain, blaming it for rising food prices. Western leaders, meanwhile, have accused the Kremlin of cynically using food as a weapon and waging an imperial-style war of conquest.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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