Russia slams UN chief's statement on referendums in Ukraine's 4 regions

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says principle of territorial integrity applies only to governments, representing all people of country.

Russia slams UN chief's statement on referendums in Ukraine's 4 regions

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday slammed a statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about referendums in Ukraine's four regions.

In a written comment, published on the ministry's website, Zakharova said that according to the UN Charter, the position of the secretary-general assumes the functions of the chief administrative officer of the UN, who cannot have "an independent position," especially on territorial issues.

Zakharova called Guterres' approach to the Ukrainian crisis "biased and unprincipled" and stressed that this situation has to be changed as it casts a shadow both on the body and its chief.

She also stressed that the UN resolutions against Russia were adopted without consensus, and not all UN countries supported them.

Meanwhile, the documents on the 2014 Minsk agreement were adopted unanimously, although Ukrainian presidents refused to implement them with no reaction from the UN, she noted.

"We have not received any condemnatory reaction from the UN Secretariat, from which we conclude that the Secretariat deliberately selectively applies the decisions of the member states," Zakharova added.

The Ukrainian authorities "forget" the provisions of the 1970 Declaration about friendly relations and cooperation between states, which stipulates that the UN principle of territorial integrity is valid only for those states, governments of which represent all people, living on its territory, without distinction of race, religion, or skin color, she said.

"Obviously, the Kyiv authorities do not belong to such (governments). ... each state must refrain from any violent actions that deprive peoples ... their rights to self-determination, freedom and independence," she stressed.

Putin signed agreements last Friday with separatist authorities of the breakaway Ukrainian regions on joining Russia, following "referendums" held on Sept. 23-27.

The vote came more than seven months into Russia's war on Ukraine that began on Feb. 24.

The "referendums" have been condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US calling them a "sham" and underlining that they would not be recognized.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Putin's decision to annex four regions is invalid and has no legal consequences.