Sergei Kiriyenko, at that time – the general director of the Russian state holding «Rosatom» – visits the construction site of the future nuclear power plant in Belarusian Ostrovets, February 1, 2013 & nbsp; State Department: Kiriyenko Leads Bogus Referenda in UkraineSergei Kiriyenko, the first deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, is leading a campaign to hold bogus referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories. Vedant Patel, a deputy State Department spokesman, made the announcement Tuesday.
“Russian First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko is leading the preparations for the sham referenda,” Patel said during a telephone news conference. – Kiriyenko is responsible for overseeing Russian-held territories before attempting to annex them to Russia, which, if [this idea] were implemented, would be illegal.”
Kiriyenko was sanctioned twice – first in March 2021, and then in February 2022, two days before the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, in response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics as “independent” states.< /p>
Patel said the United States estimated that Russia could hold bogus referendums in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people's republics,” and parts of the Kharkiv region. Referendums “may take place in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We expect Russia to manipulate the results of these referendums to falsely state that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia,” he said.< /p>
“In the framework of sham referenda, Russia will undoubtedly conduct propaganda and disinformation campaigns, falsify voter turnout and exaggerate the percentage of those who allegedly voted for joining Russia,” the State Department official added. – We want to emphasize that any claims by the Kremlin that the Ukrainian people somehow want to join Russia are lies. The poll shows that only 3% of Ukrainians say they would like Ukraine to join the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union.”
During the briefing, Vedant Patel confirmed that Russia received drones from Iran and “ intends to use these Iranian UAVs, which can carry out air-to-ground attacks, electronic warfare and strike targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
“for sanctions and export controls, forcing Russia to rely on supplies and equipment from unreliable sources such as Iran,” Patel said. “We will continue to actively enforce all sanctions on the arms trade with both Russia and Iran, and together with our partners across the region, we will counter the Iranian threat.”