This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The European Union plans to follow suit with the United Kingdom and others and impose sanctions on the organizers of “illegal, illegitimate referendums” that are being conducted in four regions of Ukraine that are at least partially controlled by Moscow.
“There would be consequences for all people who participate in the illegal, illegitimate referendums,” Peter Stano, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, told journalists on September 27, the fifth and final day of voting in the referendums, which many Western governments have called “sham” votes.
The vote in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya regions is being held in the midst of the largest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II and amid claims by some local officials that voters have been threatened and intimidated.
On September 26, the United Kingdom announced new sanctions in response to the referendums, calling them “a clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter.”
The new sanctions hit many top Russian officials involved in enforcing the votes, as well as dozens of individuals from state-linked organizations that the U.K. said continued to “bankroll the Russian war machine, serving as a stark reminder of the cost of supporting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s operation.”