According to a senior US official, Russia is going to acquire huge sections of eastern Ukraine this month and recognise the southern city of Kherson as an independent country.
The suspected efforts, according to Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, are “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook” and will not be recognised by the US or its partners and friends.
Carpenter claimed that the US and others had intelligence that Russia is arranging “fake referendums” in the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk to bind the entities to Russia. He also said that there were indicators that Russia was planning to stage an independence referendum in Kherson.
“We believe the Kremlin may try to stage phoney referenda to lend a veneer of democratic or electoral legitimacy, and this is directly out of the Kremlin’s playbook,” he said, adding that the ballots may occur as early as mid-May, according to the information.
“Sham referenda, falsified votes, and any attempts to acquire additional Ukrainian land will not be regarded genuine,” he stated.Carpenter did not go into detail about the intelligence that led to the judgement, despite public assertions that Russia is attempting to exert greater influence over regions in eastern and southern Ukraine that it already controls and occupies.
He stated evidence that local mayors and legislators had been kidnapped, that internet and telephone access had been turned off, and that Russian school curricula were about to be adopted.