Russia contends victory in referendum; US confirms new arms 

Moscow has declared that an unprecedented majority of residents in the occupied regions have agreed to join Russia.

This is coming a day after the referendum on the four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine ended.

On Tuesday evening, the Kremlin-installed governments in these regions on Tuesday evening declared victories in the referendums held in the southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and eastern Donetsk and Luhansk.

They added that the vote tallies in the four provinces ranged from 87% to 99.2% in favour of joining Russia.

But the west has tagged the referendums a ‘sham’ and the U.S. said it was preparing a new round of sanctions against Russia, should it annex Ukrainian territory. Washington will also declare a $1.1 billion arms package for Ukraine soon, reported Reuters.

According to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the West will “never recognize” annexation votes in Ukrainian territory while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the votes a “blatant violation of international law.”

Meanwhile, the results were welcomed in Russia as the head of the upper house of the Russian parliament said the chamber might consider annexation on October 4.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, former president and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Telegram.

Also, Ukraine has blasted the referendums, stating that Russian occupiers falsified the results of the sham referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine as early as the beginning of September.

“This farce in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced a resolution condemning Russia over the so-called referendums, calling on member states not to recognize any change in Ukraine and obligating Russia to withdraw its troop. “Russia’s sham referenda, if accepted, will open a pandora’s box that we cannot close,” she said at a council meeting.

However, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, claimed that the referendums were carried out transparently and in line with electoral norms.

“This process is going to continue if Kyiv does not recognise its mistakes and its strategic errors and doesn’t start to be guided by the interests of its own people and not blindly carry out the will of those people who are playing them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted a source that the new U.S. arms package to Ukraine will include HIMARS launcher systems, accompanying munitions, various types of counter-drone systems and radar systems, along with spares, training and technical assistance.

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