So-Called Elections in Occupied Areas of Ukraine ‘Have No Legal Grounds’, Undermine Peace Prospects, United Nations Official Tells Security Council
Speakers Recall General Assembly’s Condemnation of 2022 Referendums, Urge Talks
The Russian Federation’s latest illegal attempts to organize new so-called electoral processes in the occupied areas of Ukraine further undermine the prospects for peace, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today, as speakers challenged the validity of the ongoing polls while others called for de-escalation and negotiation.
Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, highlighted the UN’s principled position against Moscow’s move, stating: “The so-called elections in the occupied areas of Ukraine have no legal grounds.”
Recalling General Assembly resolution ES-11/4, adopted on 12 October 2022 following referendums organized by the Russian Federation in the same regions, he noted that the text condemned that action and declared that it did not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine. Similarly, the Kremlin’s attempted illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol remains invalid and unrecognized by the international community, he added.
“Now, more than ever, we need just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in line with the UN Charter, international law and resolutions of the General Assembly,” he said, expressing the United Nations’ readiness to support all meaningful efforts to this end.
In the ensuing debate, Council members, joined by several invited delegates, examined the legality of holding local elections on occupied territory. While many condemned this decision, others underlined the need to urgently de-escalate and seek peace. Speakers also spotlighted violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The representative of the United States described the polls — begun on 31 August — as “nothing more than a propaganda stunt”, which aims to lend a semblance of legitimacy to Moscow’s attempted annexation and hide its military losses from its people. “The outcome will, of course, be predetermined and manipulated,” he emphasized.
As well, France’s delegate said that the Russian Federation’s action fools no one, stressing that his country will not recognize any result of those polls, which in no way represent the will of the Ukrainian people. Ghana’s representative said that the purported elections violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, emphasizing that the prevailing security and political conditions in the four regions are not conducive to the exercise of free and fair will by the people there.
Joining the condemnations, Estonia’s delegate, speaking also for Latvia and Lithuania, stated that, by organizing elections on Ukraine’s territory, Moscow makes a “shameful mockery” of its position as a permanent Council member, pointing out that the Kremlin is following a “playbook” it has used in other occupied territories.
Several speakers also drew attention to General Assembly resolution ES-11/4, which was adopted due to affirmative votes by an overwhelming majority of 143 Member States. Ecuador’s delegate recalled that a Security Council draft resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s attempted annexation of Ukraine’s regions had been vetoed by the former almost a year ago, but stressed that “no veto can stop the force of the General Assembly”.
Raising the issue of the Council’s dominant attention to Ukraine, Mozambique’s representative proposed that serious consideration be given to how to optimally utilize the 15-nation organ’s limited resources, given the number of sessions on the subject. The representative of China, recognizing that the crisis in Kyiv “drags on”, said that the Council should find ways to restore peace at an early date.
On that, Japan’s delegate said that Moscow’s proposal to discuss a so-called “resolution of the crisis” next week presents a paradox, adding: “How can a permanent member of the Council who is openly violating international law advocate for resolving a crisis of its own making?” Rather, the Russian Federation can contribute to crisis resolution by withdrawing its troops from Ukraine, he asserted.
Defending his country’s position, the Russian Federation’s representative said that referendums had been declared the topic of today’s meeting, confusing them with “the current elections to the regional parliaments of our new subjects”. Stating, nevertheless, that the 2022 referendums were held in full compliance with the principles of international law, he stressed that the rights and lives of the peoples of Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were — and continue to be — under threat. Further, he condemned Kyiv for shelling peaceful areas, declaring war on everything Russian and actively implanting neo-Nazi ideology in Ukraine.
His counterpart from Ukraine, meanwhile, said that Moscow’s desperate attempts to legitimize its occupation by organizing an outright “election” farce only serve as proof of the Kremlin’s realization that its defeat is inevitable. Ukraine does not — and will never — recognize these illegal actions, and their results will have no effect under international law — nor will any activity by illegally created administrations or local authorities in temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory. “Enough is enough,” he said, stating that Moscow’s actions are incompatible with the Charter, as well as criteria for UN and Council membership.
MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY OF UKRAINE
MIROSLAV JENČA, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine — launched in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law — continues to inflict large-scale suffering on the people of Ukraine. On that, he cited 26,717 civilian casualties — 9,511 killed and 17,206 injured, including children — verified by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) since the invasion began in February 2022. Continuing, relentless attacks have targeted Ukraine’s grain infrastructure on its Black Sea and Danube River ports after Moscow decided not to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which risk far-reaching consequences for global food security. Attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including objects necessary for food production and distribution, are prohibited under international law.
“We are now approaching the one-year anniversary of the illegal attempt by the Russian Federation to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine through the organization of illegal so-called ‘referendums’ in these regions,” he said. The UN’s principled position, underpinned by its Charter and international law, was unambiguously reaffirmed on 12 October 2022 when the General Assembly adopted resolution ES-11/4. That text condemned “the organization by the Russian Federation of illegal so-called referendums in regions within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine and the attempted illegal annexation of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine”. Further, it declared that these actions “have no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine”. Similarly, the Kremlin’s attempted illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, remains invalid and unrecognized by the international community.
The Russian Federation’s “so-called elections in the occupied areas of Ukraine have no legal grounds”, he declared, recalling that the Secretary-General warned in 2022 that Moscow’s decision to go forward with its attempt to illegally annex Ukrainian territory would further jeopardize the prospects for peace. Regrettably, one year later, these latest illegal attempts to organize new so-called electoral processes in the occupied areas of Ukraine further undermine such prospects. “Now, more than ever, we need just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in line with the UN Charter, international law and resolutions of the General Assembly,” he said, expressing the UN’s readiness to support all meaningful efforts to this end.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania), Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity to state that, after 562 days of war, “all is a big lie, and the harsh reality has left the emperor without clothes”. Noting that 50 per cent of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure has been destroyed, he said that Moscow is now attacking the country’s ports and grain silos. However, instead of achieving demilitarization, its policy conversely became the biggest “sponsor” of making Ukraine better able to protect itself. “Under which part of international law has Russia attacked and occupied parts of the territory of another country, its neighbour?”, he asked, noting that — if Member States accept that international law can be broken at will — “the world of tomorrow will not be sitting under rule of law, but under law of the jungle”. Pointing out that no one wants to live “in a neighbourhood with a bully”, he emphasized that Moscow’s legislation and institutions have no legal effect, validity or business within Ukraine’s borders.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) stressed that the sham elections begun on 31 August in the parts of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation are “nothing more than a propaganda stunt”, which aims to lend a semblance of legitimacy to Moscow’s attempts at unlawful annexation and to hide its military losses from its people. “The outcome will, of course, be predetermined and manipulated,” he emphasized, pointing out that Russian Federation forces are using “an intimidating combination of bullets and ballots”. These processes in no way represent a legitimate expression of the will of the Ukrainian people, who have consistently fought efforts to change their country’s borders by force for 19 months. Recalling that 143 countries voted in the General Assembly to condemn the purported annexations in 2022, he affirmed that the United States will never recognize the Russian Federation’s claims to any Ukrainian territory, which are “a stain on our collective history”.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) recalled that, in October 2022, the overwhelming majority of the UN membership — 143 Member States — condemned both the Russian Federation’s holding of illegal so-called referendums in regions within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and its unlawful attempt to annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Far from heeding their calls, however, Moscow has chosen to continue violating the Charter’s fundamental principles, along with international humanitarian and human rights law. The Kremlin’s organization of pseudo-elections is just as illegitimate as its occupation of Ukrainian territories. But such action fools no one, he said, adding that his country will not recognize any result of these polls, which in no way represent the will of the Ukrainian people. Today’s debate brings all to the fundamental issue of respect for the Charter. “We cannot allow might to prevail over rights,” he said, urging every Member State to reject these sham polls.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), noting that it will soon have been a year since the draft resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s attempted annexation of Ukraine’s regions was vetoed, stressed: “No veto can stop the force of the General Assembly.” He reaffirmed that the referendums that took place in 2022 in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia — under foreign military occupation — are an attack on Kyiv’s sovereignty and lack any legal validity. Reiterating rejection of any act that would claim to administratively consolidate attempted “neocolonial annexation”, he added: “My delegation is not questioning the exercise of local elections that would take place within the Russian Federation, but it is questioning the voting process organized by that country in September on Ukraine’s territory.” In this regard, he urged the Council to work towards a peaceful solution based on Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana) stated that the purported elections violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and follow the widely condemned attempt in September 2022 to annex territories through a referendum. The Russian Federation’s attempts to exercise sovereign authority in Ukraine’s territory “are illegal and void”, she stressed, emphasizing that the prevailing security and political conditions in the four regions concerned cannot confirm that the free and fair will of the people there has been realized. “The power of might cannot be the rule of law,” she stated, underscoring the warring parties’ international obligations to protect civilians and to avoid the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure. Calling for intensified diplomatic action, she urged the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally remove its forces from Ukrainian territory. “There is no alternative to winning the peace of Ukraine,” she affirmed.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) reaffirmed Ukraine’s right to determine its own future, deploring the Russian Federation’s holding of sham elections in the occupied territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. “These elections are illegitimate and illegal, and will not be recognized by the international community,” she declared, recalling the October 2022 adoption of a relevant General Assembly resolution. That text condemned the “illegal annexation” of the four partially occupied regions and “reaffirmed the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”, she noted. She also pointed out that women and girls continue to face extremely high risks of gender-based violence, with credible, consistent and widespread reports pointing to grave human rights violations — including torture and conflict-related sexual violence. Condemning these barbaric and illegal acts, she urged Moscow to immediately cease these actions.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) condemned the annexation of Ukraine’s territories, emphasizing that her country does not recognize their integration into the Russian Federation. Also rejecting Moscow’s decision to hold local elections on the occupied territories, she said that Switzerland will not recognize those elections, which are taking place in a context that prevents free and fair voting. Recalling the deadly attack on a market in Kostyantynivka that killed and injured dozens of people, she also spotlighted the schools, homes and port and grain infrastructure that have been damaged by “Russian strikes” in the south of Ukraine. Against that backdrop, she called for civilians to be protected and noted reports by the International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine on human-rights violations in the occupied territories. “In the territories under its control, Russia must respect its specific obligations as an occupying Power,” she stressed, noting that it must also respect Ukraine’s legislation.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), recalling that the Russian Federation’s actions have drawn condemnation from the majority of Member States, spotlighted the “elections” Moscow organized on occupied territories. “Attempts by Russia to establish a sense of normalcy or legitimacy through these activities are doomed to fail,” he stressed, emphasizing that Moscow’s attempted illegal annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions by force has no validity and cannot form the basis for altering the status of these regions. Moreover, Moscow’s proposal to discuss a so-called “resolution of the crisis” next week presents a paradox, he said, adding: “How can a permanent member of the Council who is openly violating international law advocate for resolving a crisis of its own making?” Rather, the Russian Federation can contribute to crisis resolution by withdrawing its troops from Ukraine, he asserted.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) recalled that, in 2022, an overwhelming majority of countries supported General Assembly resolution ES-11/4. That text stated that referendums in parts of Ukraine do not form the basis for altering their status, and he pointed out that this necessarily applies to the elections held recently. The Council has an essential role to play in prioritizing the peaceful settlement of disputes, he emphasized, noting that de-escalation, dialogue and diplomacy are needed more urgently than ever. Ongoing hostilities have not only brought immeasurable suffering to Ukraine and its people but have also exacerbated already critical global food insecurity. Encouraged by ongoing efforts by the United Nations, Türkiye and others to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he called on the international community to come together around a vision that ends the suffering and supports peace and security in the wider region.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) condemned the Russian Federation’s missile attacks on a market in Kostyantynivka. She also recalled that Moscow attempted to illegally annex Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in 2022, adding: “We saw Russian soldiers round people up to cast ballots at gunpoint for Russia’s so-called ‘referendums’.” Pointing to Moscow’s claims of protecting the right to self-determination, she cited her country’s Foreign Secretary, who said: “You can’t hold elections in someone else’s country.” Also noting that the Kremlin has pre-determined the results of these “sham elections”, she stressed that “this gross deception will bring Russia no closer to justifying its war of aggression”. Further, she pointed out that Moscow seeks to change the demographic make-up of annexed territories through “passportization”, deportation and indoctrination. “This year, Russia aimed to host around 100,000 Ukrainian children from Russian-controlled territories to participate in a summer camp programme, with the aim to politically indoctrinate children to align with Russia,” she said.
DOMINGOS ESTÊVÃO FERNANDES (Mozambique) said that the primary issue is not merely addressing the symptoms and fallout of this armed conflict, as attempted since the Minsk accords, but addressing its root causes, including the genuine security concerns of the parties. His country believes it crucial to immediately cease hostilities, resume direct negotiations between the main parties and adopt a constructive, inclusive and result-oriented approach, focusing on mutual benefit rather than a zero-sum perspective. As Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, he proposed that serious consideration be given to how to optimally utilize the Council’s limited resources, given the number of sessions on Ukraine. It is also concerning that the Council’s programme of work has not been adopted owing to this very same subject. “This issue requires constructive dialogue, driven by our collective desire to find solutions,” he said.
GENG SHUANG (China) said that his country’s position on the question of Ukraine has been consistent and clear, underscoring the importance of safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. Recognizing that the crisis in Kyiv “drags on”, he said that the Council should find ways to achieve a ceasefire and restore peace at an early date. Priority should be given to mediation tools to promote implementation of various peace initiatives and leverage the role of the collective security mechanism. Noting that this crisis has complex causes and there is “no easy fix”, he emphasized: “No matter how challenging it is, the door of political settlement cannot be closed and efforts to promote a ceasefire and peace talks cannot relent. The process of diplomatic negotiation cannot stall.” In this regard, he reiterated Beijing’s readiness to strengthen dialogue and communication with all parties.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) voiced regret that “the Albanian presidency” used Rule 37 to invite five States together with the European Union — despite there being “no added value to their statements”. Albania and the United States had declared referendums as the topic of the meeting, confusing them with “the current elections to the regional parliaments of our new subjects”. The same countries that now criticize the referendums argued that Kosovo had the right to secede from Serbia due to the threat of serious violations of the rights of Kosovar Albanians. Unlike the situation with Kosovo, the rights and lives of the peoples of Donbas, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia were and continue to be under threat, he stated — condemning Kyiv for shelling peaceful areas, declaring war on everything Russian and actively implanting neo-Nazi ideology in Ukraine. He further noted that the 2022 referendums were held in full compliance with the principles of international law. He stated that elections of deputies to regional parliaments and municipal authorities will be held at all polling stations until 10 September.
SÉRGIO FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil) expressed concern over the Russian Federation’s organization of regional elections in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. “Such actions raise tensions and further undermine the prospects for ending the conflict and finding lasting peace,” he said, stating that “the dynamics on the battlefield will not bring a solution to this war, let alone lasting peace and stability”. He therefore called for a de-escalation of hostilities as a first step, and for the establishment of negotiations — either directly or through other peaceful means described in the UN Charter. Only a political solution that considers the purposes and principles of the Charter and the legitimate security concerns of all parties will bring lasting peace. Any solution must also ensure full respect for the civil and political rights of local populations, including ethnic and linguistic minorities, he added.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that the decision to organize local and municipal elections in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions on 10 September will not contribute to easing tensions and prospects of ending the war. “After 18 months of fierce fighting and destruction, the efforts of the belligerents and the international community should turn towards the search of de-escalation,” he stressed, urging the parties to prioritize dialogue and negotiations to end the war and ensure peaceful coexistence. In this context, he underscored the importance of refraining from any actions that can exacerbate tensions and fuel the escalation of violence. Stressing the need for unimpeded humanitarian access for those in need, he encouraged all initiatives aimed at bringing the parties to the table to consider ways to end a conflict that “has lasted too long”.
Mr. HOXHA (Albania), taking the floor for a second time in his national capacity, noted the discrepancy between “the Russian narrative and reality” when that country’s delegate attempted to draw a parallel between the situation involving Kosovo and what is happening in parts of Ukraine today. “Nothing could be less accurate and further from the truth,” he stressed, adding that Kosovo cannot and will not be used as a “fig leaf or camouflage for Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its attempt for annexation”. He recalled that Kosovo became independent after a bloody war and a long international peace process, to which the Russian Federation was also a party. The International Court of Justice responded that the declaration of Kosovan independence was in line with international law. Addressing comments on Rule 37, he affirmed that his delegation is committed to maintaining an orderly conduct of business in the Council.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) said that his country’s forces continue to undermine the Russian Federation’s grip on occupied Ukrainian land — and will persist in doing so until all sovereign territories are liberated. Moscow’s desperate attempts to legitimize its illegal occupation by organizing an outright “election” farce only serve as proof of the Kremlin’s realization that its defeat is inevitable. One could hardly qualify in any other way the fake elections taking place on 8-10 September in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, he said. He then recalled that, in 2014, the General Assembly responded to the Russian Federation’s “referendum” in Crimea and Sevastopol by adopting a resolution, which underscored that such action has no validity and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of these areas.
In September 2022, the Kremlin conducted sham referendums in parts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, he noted. And the Assembly, again, responded by adopting a resolution that declared those polls unlawful. “We do not and will never recognize these illegal actions and emphasize that their results will be null and void and cannot produce any legal effects under international law,” he insisted. Likewise, any activity by the illegally created “administrations” and “local authorities” in temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory will have no legal effect, he stressed. These illegal polls pose an existential threat to the UN and its Charter, as protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all Member States — regardless of their size or power — is the collective duty of all and a core principle of that instrument. “Enough is enough,” he said, stating that Moscow’s actions are incompatible with the Charter, as well as criteria for membership in the UN and the Security Council.
REIN TAMMSAAR (Estonia), also speaking for Latvia and Lithuania, associated himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union. “Whether Russia likes it or not, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions — along with Crimea and Sevastopol — are and will remain an integral part of Ukraine,” he stressed. By organizing elections on Ukraine’s territory, Moscow makes a “shameful mockery” of its position as a permanent member of the Council, he observed, pointing out that the Kremlin is following a “playbook” it has used in other occupied territories. It threatens and intimidates civilians to vote in “sham elections”, with hopes to legitimize its occupation and suppress Kyiv’s resistance, he said.
Noting that all territories in which so-called elections are being conducted have witnessed the Russian Federation’s war crimes, he said: “Ask yourselves how you would vote in such elections if your family members had been held at gunpoint and your home had been occupied by Russian armed forces or mercenaries with criminal track records.” While Moscow aims to portray the so-called elections as a “triumph of democracy” on the occupied territories, he said that “in reality, there is nothing more undemocratic”. The strict occupation regime is upheld by that country’s military forces and special services, and officers of the Russian Federation’s Federal Security Service are being placed in leadership positions. He emphasized: “Ukrainians are being forcibly ‘Russified’ — the Russian tactic that the Baltic States know all too well.”
JAKUB KULHÁNEK (Czech Republic), also speaking for Slovakia and aligning himself with the statement to come from the European Union, stressed that “the international community — with only one conspicuous exception — overwhelmingly rejects the legitimacy of these sham referenda”, which were immediately followed by Moscow’s announcement of the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. The annexed parts of four regions and Crimea are an integral part of Ukraine and are illegally occupied, which “cannot be justified by manipulated votes conducted under the watchful eyes and gun barrels of Russian soldiers”, he stated. He called on the Russian Federation to immediately stop its aggression against Ukraine and withdraw its troops, affirming that the countries will continue to help that State in its just defence for as long as needed — voicing “no doubt” that Ukraine will succeed in liberating its entire territory, as it did in 2022 in the Kherson region.
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, stressed that the Russian Federation’s illegitimate so-called elections in territories of Ukraine under temporary military occupation hold no value under international law. By violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Moscow is putting global peace and security at risk. He noted that the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry have concluded that the Russian Federation has committed a wide range of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Ukraine, including systematic summary executions, torture, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence and forced transfer and deportation, including of children. Welcoming the recent visit to Ukraine by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, he urged Moscow to enable unhindered humanitarian access and stop withholding aid from people in need in Ukraine’s occupied territories.
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, warned that, far from an exercise of democracy and self-determination, the Russian Federation’s illegitimate so-called elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine are taking place amid widespread and systematic abuses of human rights and intimidation. “Let me be clear, Italy will never recognize the fabricated results of the illegitimate elections,” he said, adding that his country, likewise, did not and will never recognize the illegal attempted annexation of all the Ukrainian territories by the occupying country. Joining condemnations of Moscow’s continuous brutal attacks targeting civilian infrastructures and cities across Ukraine, he called for rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for those in need. In this regard, Italy made support for Ukraine a key priority of its Group of Seven (G-7) presidency in 2024 and will organize and host the Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2025.
KRZYSZTOF MARIA SZCZERSKI (Poland), noting that the Council is meeting at “a crucial moment”, pointed to various diplomatic initiatives aimed at finding peace. He recalled that, together with the representatives of more than 40 countries, Poland recently took part in a summit hosted by Saudi Arabia where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula was discussed. Pointing to the Russian Federation’s plans to hold “sham local elections” as a follow-up to the “sham referenda” it held in 2022, he said that the Kremlin’s actions “are undertaken in spite of 143 Member States of this Organization clearly voicing their indignation with the Russian pseudo-democratic practices”. Warsaw cannot and will not accept violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, he stressed, adding that — while trying to create a new political fait accompli to legitimize its occupation — Moscow keeps “terrorizing” the global food supply by attacking Kyiv’s grain storages and port facilities.