May 20, 2024

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September 26, 2022 Russia and Ukraine news

A man casts his vote during a referendum on the secession of the Zaporizhzhya region from Ukraine in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol on September 26 (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

White House officials are watching closely and preparing for their possible response on Monday as four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine continued to vote in referendums that are actually held at gunpoint and have been held. The West rejected it, describing it as a “hoax.”. “

With the results of the Russia-organized vote expected to be announced as soon as tomorrow, US officials expect Russia to move quickly to annex the four regions, possibly within days.

If and when they did, one official said, it would lead to a swift response from the United States, which has vowed not to acknowledge the results.

The official said the United States is not currently expected to respond until Russia moves to annex the territories, and when Russia eventually tries to do so remains to be seen.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in recent days that Russia has decided in advance what will happen after the completion of these referendums, noting that “by the end of the month, Russia’s intention will be to formalize the annexation of the four regions into the Russian Federation.”

As they monitor the referendums, senior Biden administration officials have become more vocal in recent days about the warnings they privately issued to Russian officials about the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“Russia understands very well what the United States will do in response to the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine because we have made that clear to them,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a television interview on Sunday, though he declined to say who obtained the weapons. Warnings or what will be the consequences.

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While officials have yet to see indications that Russia is planning to use nuclear weapons in the near term, they are more concerned about the possibility now than they were six or seven months ago, one official confirmed to CNN, although they still see that The probability of Russia doing so is low.