Russian soldiers walks along a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022.
Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Russia plans to dismantle local governments across Ukraine, a US official said on Thursday.
In captured territories, Russia wants to set up new forms of government with its own leaders.
Ukraine has warned that Russia will schedule referendums in captured areas to impose legitimacy.
Russia plans to dismantle Ukraine’s government and install puppet leaders to head local municipalities, a US official said on Thursday.
Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said in remarks to the agency’s permanent council in Vienna that Russia seeks a “forced capitulation” of Ukraine’s elected government and wants to “dissolve” all local municipal governments across the country.
“Plans for a new government and new constitution are being developed by Russian officials and so-called ‘separatists,'” Carpenter said.
He added: “This planning includes a moratorium disallowing legitimate Ukrainian leaders and those supporting Ukraine’s legitimate government from any leadership positions.”
Carpenter said Russia wants to set up new forms of government in territories it captures and warned it may be preparing to stage “sham” referendums in occupied regions to try and legitimize its invasion.
Ukraine has previously accused Russia of scheduling referendums in the southeastern Ukrainian cities of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday, however, that “pseudo-referendums” or establishment of “new pseudo-people’s republics” would derail any peace negotiations with Moscow.
Carpenter referred to the idea of Russian referendums as a textbook move and said the US witnessed “attempts to impose so-called ‘new realities'” eight years ago in Crimea and in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Since 2014, Ukraine has fought Kremlin-backed rebels in the pro-Russia separatist-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic — both in the country’s eastern Donbas region.
Shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s February 24 televised war declaration, he signed a decree recognizing the two regions as independent states.
Carpenter accused Russia of using disinformation to portray legitimate Ukrainian authority as a “Western-inspired coup” to local populations.
“The reality is that Russia installed puppet regimes dependent on Russian bribes, and orchestrated nebulous ‘people’s councils’ to create phony constitutions – all an attempt to lend an air of legitimacy to the sham,” Carpenter said.
Now, Russian forces have focused their attention on a renewed offensive in the Donbas after failing to capture Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv.
Despite Russian troop movement to eastern Ukraine, Western officials have warned that …read more
Source:: Business Insider