No talks with Putin if Ukrainian land annexed: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Tuesday that Russia’s just concluded “sham referendums” and attempts to annex Ukrainian territory rule out any talks with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remains president.

He also called for Russia’s “complete isolation” and tough new global sanctions.

Speaking to the UN Security Council by video link over Russian objections, Zelenskyy urged additional military and financial support to defend Ukraine.

The referendums, denounced by Kyiv and its Western allies as rigged, took place in the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Kherson regions and in occupied areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, the Associated Press reported. They are widely viewed as a pretext for announcements that Russia is annexing the territories, just as it annexed Crimea in 2014.

Quoted by AP, pro-Moscow officials said later Tuesday that residents in all four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia, a likely prelude to annexations possibly within days.

Ukraine called the Security Council emergency meeting to respond to the referendums and the expected annexation announcements from Russia.

“Any annexation in the modern world is a crime, a crime against all states that consider the inviolability of border to be vital for themselves,” Zelenskyy said.

He accused Russia of destroying “the main body of international law,” and responding to “any proposals for talks with a new brutality on the battlefield, with even greater crisis and threats to Ukraine and the world.”

Many Security Council members denounced the referendums and stressed that any annexation of territory would never be recognized.

According to AP report, the assembly overwhelmingly adopted two resolutions in March, with support from about 140 countries, demanding an immediate end to Russia’s military operation and withdrawal of its forces, and blaming Moscow for the humanitarian crisis that has now hit many countries, especially in the developing world with food and energy shortages, higher prices and rising inflation.