President Salome Zurabishvili addressed the referendums launched by Russia on September 23 which are aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine and emphasized the need to “categorically condemn the referendums.”
The President, who made the statement while attending a commemorative event for the 29th anniversary of the Fall of Sokhumi, highlighted, “Because we know what referendums mean when they are held in occupied territory, in the conditions of war, what they mean and what they can be.”
“This is an extremely cynical action by Russia, which is unacceptable for us, and for the world, for civilized people,” President Zurabishvili underscored.
The four-day vote, which drew the ire of and was swiftly dismissed as a sham by Kyiv and the International community, is being held in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzia regions of Ukraine. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to make a statement on the matter.
Ukrainian officials have said that people are being prevented from leaving some occupied areas until the vote is over, with armed groups reportedly coercing people into participating.
The referendum was announced two days after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilization on September 21. Tens of thousands of Russian citizens have been trying to escape Russia since, including through the Russo-Georgian Larsi border checkpoint.