Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office has responded to the sudden announcements of referendums on joining Russia in occupied parts of Ukraine.
"Naive blackmail with threats and horror stories of 'referendums', 'mobilizations' from those who know how to fight only with children and peaceful people ... This is what the fear of defeat looks like. The enemy is afraid, primitively manipulates," said Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, on his Telegram channel.
"Ukraine will solve the Russian issue. The threat can be eliminated only by force," Yermak added.
An adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Russians decided to “respond asymmetrically” to the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“Thinking that illegal 'referendum' will stop HIMARS and the Armed Forces from destroying occupiers on our land. Do you really want to spend the time needed to escape for a new show? Try...It will be interesting...,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also dismissed the announcements in a tweet, calling the referendums a "sham."
In addition, Ukraine's foreign ministry also said, “such fake plebiscites” will have “no legal consequences.”
The vote will not change the “administrative-territorial structure and internationally recognized borders of Ukraine,” it said in a statement, adding that “neither Ukraine nor the international community will recognize their worthless results.”
The ministry called the vote “forced citizenship” of residents and said it is “another attempt of Russia to legitimize the consequences of its aggressive war against Ukraine.”
Remember: Multiple Kremlin-backed authorities in eastern and southern Ukraine announced referendums on joining Russia will be held this week. Senior Russian officials have welcomed the moves.