ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
The Russian Federation is in the process of conducting sham elections in occupied areas of Ukraine. These so-called elections are taking place nearly one year after the Kremlin staged sham referenda and purported to annex Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts, and over nine years after Russia purported to annex Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. The Kremlin hopes these pre-determined, fabricated results will strengthen Russia’s illegitimate claims to the parts of Ukraine it occupies, but this is nothing more than a propaganda exercise.
Russia’s actions demonstrate its blatant disregard for UN Charter principles like respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity, which underpin global security and stability. The United States will never recognize the Russian Federation’s claims to any of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and we remind any individuals who may support Russia’s sham elections in Ukraine, including by acting as so-called “international observers,” that they may be subject to sanctions and visa restrictions.