Official text: Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the so-called “referendums” in parts of Ukraine, 22 September 2022


1. We condemn in the strongest terms the plan to hold so-called “referendums” on joining the Russian Federation in Ukrainian regions partially controlled by the Russian army. As the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed in its resolution “Aggression against Ukraine” adopted on March 2, 2022, no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force will be recognized as lawful. The Allies do not and will never recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea. Sham referendums in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine have no legitimacy and will constitute a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter. The NATO Allies will not recognize their illegal and illegitimate annexation. These lands are Ukraine. We call on all states to reject Russia’s blatant attempts at territorial conquest.

2. These Russian decisions, including on partial military mobilization, are a further escalation in Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. We continue to reject Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. Russia bears full responsibility for the war, for the immense suffering which its aggression inflicts on the Ukrainian people, as well as for the cost of its war, including for the Russian people currently mobilized. Russia has the power to end the conflict. Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine.

3. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, as well as Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence. NATO Allies remain committed to providing political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russian aggression.

4. NATO is a defensive alliance and will continue to strive for peace, security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. We are united to defend and protect every square inch of Allied territory.

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