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Russia plans to annex Ukrainian territories: White House

“We have information today, including from downgraded intelligence that we’re able to share with you, about how Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory that it controls in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” John Kirby, the chief National Security Council spokesman, told a White House news briefing on Tuesday.

He added that Moscow was preparing to install proxy officials, establish the rouble as the default currency and force residents to apply for citizenship.

NSC’s John Kirby says the the US has intel that Russia is planning to annex additional parts of Ukraine, plans could include “sham” referenda, installing proxy officials, establishing the Ruble as official currency and forcing Ukrainian citizens to apply for Russian citizenship.

— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 19, 2022

According to Mr Kirby, the same tactic was used in 2014 when Russia announced its annexation of Crimea after taking over control from Ukraine. The international community considers Crimea’s annexation illegitimate.

Russia is now also attempting to take control of broadcasting towers, he added.

Washington will impose sanctions on officials involved in representing themselves as proxy officials, John Kirby said. He predicted these proxies will try to hold “sham referenda” seeking to legitimise Russian control.

The chief National Security Council spokesman pointed out that nobody is fooled by the Russian leader. Vladimir Putin “is dusting off the playbook from 2014,” the spokesman emphasised.

US help to Ukraine

At the same time, Mr Kirby revealed that the US would announce a new weapons package for Ukraine in the next few days.

It will be the 16th such drawdown of money approved by Congress and allocated under presidential authority, he said. The package is expected to include US mobile rocket launchers, known as HIMARS, and rounds for Multiple Launch Rocket Systems as well as artillery munitions.

⚡️US to give Ukraine more HIMARS rocket systems.

The White House is expected to announce a new package of military aid to Ukraine this week, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the U.S. National Security Council, said, as cited by Yevropeiska Pravda.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 19, 2022

The Russian embassy in the United States dismissed Washington’s comments as “fundamentally false”. It went on to boast about the aid Russia sent territories, which were destroyed by their own actions.

The United States has provided USD 8 bn in security assistance since the war began, including USD 2.2 bn earmarked in the last month.

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