German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday denounced plans by Russian-backed forces to hold referendums in Ukraine, calling them a “sham” that must be rejected by the international community.
“It is very, very clear that these sham referendums cannot be accepted and are not covered by international law,” Scholz told reporters as he attended the UN General Assembly.
Scholz called the referendums “part of an intent of imperialist aggression” by Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, triggering condemnation and sanctions by Western powers.
“Russia must withdraw its troops,” he said.
Officials in regions held by Moscow on Tuesday announced that they would hold referendums in the coming days on annexation by Russia, a step that the United States has been predicting and warning against.