The United Kingdom “would never recognize Russian attempts to annex sovereign territory,” British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Truss underlined the UK’s “steadfast support in light of Russia’s sham referendums in Ukraine.”
“The [British] Prime Minister made clear that the UK would never recognize Russian attempts to annex sovereign territory,” the spokesperson said.
“[Truss] reiterated that Ukraine could depend on the UK’s support until President Putin was defeated,” they added.
During the call, President Zelensky welcomed Truss’ “strong backing” while the Prime Minister thanked Zelensky for his work in securing the release of five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine, the spokesperson also said.
Four Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine staged votes on joining Russia, according to their separatist leaders from Friday to Tuesday. The polls, which are contrary to international law, could pave the way for Russian annexation of the areas.
The votes are illegal and have been universally dismissed as “a sham” by Ukraine and Western nations.
CNN's Rob Picheta contributed reporting to this post.