BERLIN (AA) - Germany accused Russia on Tuesday of organizing “sham referendums” in the regions of eastern Ukrainian to formally annex the occupied territories.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the referendums are a breach of international law and will not be recognized by the international community.
“It is very clear that these sham referendums cannot be accepted, they are not compatible with the international law,” he told reporters in New York where world leaders are meeting for the UN General Assembly.
Scholz also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of pursuing “imperialist” goals and said Germany will continue to stand by Ukrainians.
“Ukraine has every right to defend its sovereignty, [territorial] integrity and democracy. We support Ukraine for this,” he said.
Russian-backed representatives of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts announced Tuesday they will hold referendums on joining Russia in the coming days.
Moscow has welcomed the move, while Kyiv accused Russia of hybrid warfare to annex Ukrainian territories.
“Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.