International Desk: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zolensky has commented that there will be no further talks with the country if Moscow organizes a referendum on the occupied Ukrainian territories to join Russia. He said there could be no talks with Ukraine or its international allies if Moscow went ahead with holding referendums on its country's occupied territories on joining Russia.
Reuters reported this information in a report on Monday (August 8). According to reports, Russian forces and their separatist allies are now in control of eastern Ukraine's Donbass region and large swaths of the south. Officials in both areas have indicated the possibility of holding referendums there.
In a video address given on Sunday night, President Zelensky said that Ukraine will not cede any territory to Russia and that Kiev has maintained its position on this matter. He said, "The position of our country remains what it always was. We will not leave anything of ours (to Russia).”
In the words of Zelensky, "If the occupiers go ahead with the fake-referendum, Russia will lose any opportunity to negotiate with Ukraine and the free world." But this opportunity for discussion will be clearly necessary for Russia.
Russian and Ukrainian officials held several talks shortly after Russian forces launched their invasion of Ukraine in February this year. But these peace talks have made little progress and no further meetings have been held since late March. Both sides blamed the other for (the impasse in talks).
But Russian forces hold much of southern Ukraine's Kherson region, and officials in charge have indicated a referendum on joining Russia could be held in the coming weeks or months.
In addition, in 2014, pro-Russian separatists seized parts of Donbas, held a referendum on independence, and declared Luhansk and Donetsk regions "People's Republics". The Kremlin recognized the two republics on the eve of the attack last February.
The governor of the Luhansk region indicated last weekend that Russia was preparing for a referendum in the newly occupied territories and was offering residents the opportunity to participate in the vote.