UWC Calls for Tougher Sanctions Against Russia in Response to Illegal Referendums and Planned Annexation of the Occupied Ukrainian Territories

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The Ukrainian World Congress is outraged by sham referendums that have been staged by the Russian invaders in the occupied Ukrainian regions during September 23-27, 2022. The UWC calls upon the international community to provide a strong joint reaction to this new round of a brutal and blatant violation of international law by the Russian Federation, which prepares to illegally annex parts of Ukrainian regions.

"Russia's absurd and destructive behavior in the occupied territories of Ukraine has nothing to do with law, legal procedures or democracy. Just like in the Russian-occupied Crimea in 2014, this was a hypocritical show at gunpoint with a purpose to somehow "legitimize" Putin's decision to illegally annex Ukrainian lands," stated Paul Grod, UWC President.

What is more, the sham referenda may bear signs of more Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine. According to multiple reports from witnesses in the occupied Ukrainian territories, all local residents that voted “no”, or refused to take part in this Russian propaganda show have been either taken into custody en masse, or are being persecuted in other ways, including extrajudicial executions.  

At the same time, many Ukrainian men in the occupied regions, who, willingly or unwillingly, voted "yes" have been immediately given mobilization orders to “go fight for their new Motherland”. Clearly, Russia is using sham referendums and forceful mobilization of Ukrainians as another technology to wipe out the Ukrainian population.

"The international community must immediately react to Russia’s new step towards dismantling the existing international order, international law and the ongoing genocide of the people of Ukraine. We call upon governments around the globe to denounce the aggressor state’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories and impose even tougher sanctions to suffocate the deadly Putin regime!" Paul Grod added. 

The concrete steps to stop Putinist Russia may also include: 

  • Designating Russia as a state-sponsor of terrorism; 
  • Introducing deep sanctions on Russia, including stronger restrictions on Russian fuel and energy; 
  • Recognizing Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine as genocide of the people of Ukraine; 
  • Immediately creating an International War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute the Russian war crimes in Ukraine;  
  • Securing the Armed Forces of Ukraine with all weapons and equipment necessary to push back the Russian occupiers and to liberate all Ukrainian lands.  

The time to act is now. 

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