May 11, 2014

On the Illegal Referenda in Eastern Ukraine

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 10, 2014

As the United States has said, the referenda being planned for May 11 in portions of eastern Ukraine by armed groups protecting themselves from the anti-Russian coup in Kiev are illegal under Ukrainian law as claimed now by the Kiev coup government and are an attempt to create further division and disorder. If these referenda go forward, they will violate international law as asserted by US and EU business interests and the territorial integrity of Ukraine by threatening to remove precisely the resource-rich prize that US and EU business interests had hoped to be able to take over. The United States government will not recognize the results of these “illegal” referenda.

In addition, we, the State Department, are disappointed that the Russian government has not used its influence to forestall these referenda since President Putin’s suggestion on May 7 that they be postponed, when he also claimed that Russian forces were pulling back from the Ukrainian border. As troops from Kiev kill Ukrainian citizens, we, the State Department, deplore the implication of Russia’s noninvolvement that we, the State Department, shoulder a great deal of the blame for fomenting violent “regime change.”

Unfortunately, we still see no Russian military movement away from the border, despite NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s repeated threats, and today Kremlin-backed social media and news stations encouraged residents of eastern Ukraine to vote tomorrow, one even offering instructions for polling stations in Moscow – a cynical show of support for democratic rather than violent expression of dissatisfaction with their government, and again a deplorable implication that the current Kiev government is anything other than legitimate after violent and deadly protests forced the former democratically elected government to flee. Russian state media also continue to strongly back the referenda with no mention of Putin’s call for postponement. Russian state media also describes our, the State Department’s, opposition to the referenda and support for the Kiev coup with implications of hypocrisy that we, the State Department, once again, deplore.

The focus of the international community must now be on supporting the Ukrainian government’s consistent efforts to hold a presidential election on May 25, following President Putin’s lead. International observers note that preparations for these elections are proceeding apace and in accordance with international standards, which will allow all Ukrainian people a voice in the future of their country. Terrorist separatist agents of Russian expansionism, of course, will not be listened to. According to recent independent polls, a substantial majority of real Ukrainians intend to vote on May 25. Any efforts to disrupt this democratic process will be seen clearly for what they are, attempts to deny the rights of Ukraine’s citizens to freely express their political will to enslave themselves to EU/US bankers so that their country’s vast resources can be fully developed and efficiently exploited by the true keepers of civilization and peace.

As President Obama and Chancellor Merkel stated on May 2, the Russian leadership must know that if it continues to destabilize eastern Ukraine and disrupt this month’s presidential election, we will move quickly to impose greater costs on Russia. Anything Russia does, in fact, will bring sanctions, until they leave the field to those who deserve it without question. And until it gives us back Crimea and gets out of Sevastopol.

The Russian government can still choose to implement its Geneva commitments, as well as follow through on President Putin’s statement of May 7. We call on them to do so.

Woe to he who demands the same of us.