Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Brussels, 29 June 2022

The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the kidnapping of the democratically elected Mayor of Kherson Ihor Kolykhayev by the invading Russian forces and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Abducting and kidnapping democratically elected Ukrainian officials, journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary citizens in Ukrainian territories temporarily under illegal Russian military control or in areas held by Russia-backed armed formations is completely unacceptable. We demand an immediate end to these illegal intimidation tactics and the unconditional release of all detained and abducted Ukrainian civilians.

We strongly condemn the announced preparations for an illegal fake “referendum” in parts of the Kherson region on joining the Russian Federation. Such attempts represent a blatant violation of international law, the Ukrainian constitution and Ukrainian sovereignty by the Kremlin and its proxies. The result of such an orchestrated illegitimate vote will not be recognised by the international community.

Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in the ongoing violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable.

We are impressed by the determination and courage of the residents of Kherson and other Ukrainian regions under Russian military control, peacefully opposing the invading and oppressing foreign armed forces.

We reiterate our call on Russia, echoed by the overwhelming majority of UN member states, to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine. The European Union remains committed to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

Source – EEAS

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